Blog Hop: The Next Big Thing

I want to thank the lovely and very talented Jennifer Bullis for ‘tagging’ me into this blog hop, and negotiating me into talking about “The Next Big Thing” I’m working on in my writing. At the time I thought I would be talking about the Victims of Ted Bundy manuscript, but sometime between the middle of January and now, I managed to finish a working manuscript for my chapbook and find a publisher, which is all very exciting.

Below I will respond to a standard set of interview questions about my writing projects.

1. What is the title of your book? Is it a working title?

My chapbook is titled Incident Reports: The Vanishing. I do not think I will change the title, but it will be released by Hyacinth Girl Press in early 2014 which gives me plenty of time for decisions and indecision’s.  It was previously called Seven Golden Lampstands, which is a phrase found in the book of Revelations.

2. Where did the idea for your book come from? 

In 2007, when I was living alone in Seattle, I started to write a poem every day. I have never been the kind of poet that is capable of writing about their own life in any depth, so instead I wrote about an impossible life, one without a moon or birds, one dependent on nature. I did not think of these poems as Apocalypse poems at the time, but when I arrived at Sarah Lawrence the following year to attend grad school, I found myself writing more and more of them. I also started to investigate the origin of the word Apocalypse. I discovered that it did not necessarily refer to the end of the world, but rather ‘a tearing of the veil’, an irreversible change from one way of life to another. In my poems the world changes, but it does not necessarily end, life keeps on going, it is just a different kind of life, one without cars and computers. One where some people accept these facts and others refuse.

3. Who and/or what inspired you to write your book?

I was raised in a busy city. You could always see people around – out your window, down the street, sitting on benches. I became so used to seeing people in the city, that when they were not there (read more about this here) the world seemed like an entirely different place. So you could say I started thinking about the Apocalypse from a very young age, but for me it always seemed like it must be a gradual event. Most apocalyptic movies disappoint me because everyone is running from fire, or earthquakes, or aliens, for me the apocalypse is an inherently gradual thing.

The tone, theme, and narrative structure of my book was inspired by any number of things. Seeing photographs of my father’s family living a rural life in the 70’s, in northern British Columbia, set the visual tone for the second half of the book. The novel World War Z by Max Brooks which takes such a detailed oriented approach to destruction and survival, and tells these stories as an ‘oral history.’ The Book of Revelations, The World With Out Us, and Julia Scheeres heartbreaking book on Jonestown, A Thousand Lives, also affected the tone of the chapbook.This list could go on and one, but you can read more about it here and here.

4. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I have been writing these poems since early 2007 so that would make it about six years. By this point I have more than a chapbook worth of these poems, but less than a fully formed and edited manuscript.

5. What genre does your book fall under?

Magic realism, I believe, although I never had much faith in genres. Also the poems are from many diverse perspectives so I have always considered it to be a fictional poetry anthology collected from the time after society disintegrated. It is not a story told from one perspective, but from many.

6. What books would you compare yours to in your chosen genre?

I find it hard to compare books under the best of circumstances.  You could draw some parallels to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s A Hundred Years of Solitude, perhaps, because both have an uneasy relationship with time and identity. I certainly have been very inspired by W.H. Auden and his perspective on nature and evil. Of course, I don’t write in rhyme.

7. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Birds leave, people vanish, houses self destruct, yet people remain and have to figure out what to do next, with an engorged sun, and untrustworthy walls.

8. Do you have a publisher, or will you self-publish your book or seek representation?

The awesome Margaret Bashaar who runs Hyacinth Girl Press, which is based in Pennsylvania, is going to publish my book. I am very excited.

10. What else about your book might pique readers’ interest?

There are more numbers in my book then I know what to do with, but no math skills are required.

9. What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie or to read your work for a recording?

This questions intimidates me so much that I will just ignore it. Although I will say that if I was ever in charge of casting any movie, about anything, Mireille Enos would be in it.

And now, I’m very pleased to tell you about the two (wonderful) writers I’m “tagging” to respond the interview questions next:

Jennifer Faylor is a poet from New York City. She is also a chocolatier and proud owner of two goldfish: Edison and Marguerite. She received her MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and her work has appeared online and in print in places such as Bat City Review, Redivider and Opium Magazine. Her first chapbook “The Case of the Missing Lover”, a choose your own adventure style book, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in Spring of 2013.

She blogs at jenniferfaylor.blogspot.com and will post on March 25.

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2010. She recently completed her first full-length manuscript of essays and poetry and has a chapbook in print and one forthcoming with Mouthfeel Press. She is the resident poet for Port Yonder Press’ online magazine Beyondaries and her work has been featured or is upcoming in Four Way Review, Night Train, Versal, Sugar House Review, among others. She writes in the deserts of West Texas.

She blogs at shannonhardwickpoetry.wordpress.com/ and will post on the 13th of March.

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2 Responses to Blog Hop: The Next Big Thing

  1. What a delightful interview, Caitlin–thank you so much for participating in Blog Hop, and for your kind words. Most of all, CONGRATULATIONS on Incident Reports: The Vanishing!

  2. Pingback: Blog Hopping to Caitlin Thomson’s Next Big Thing « Jennifer Bullis

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