The Next Big Thing (as of March 6, 2013)
Liz Bradfield (http://www.ebradfield.com/nextbigthing.shtml), the wonderful author of Interpretive Work and Approaching Ice, and creator and editor for Broadsided Press, tagged me to answer these questions that are moving from author to author:
What is the working title of the book?
The Wise and Foolish Builders (I’m kind of cheating here; this is the real title as well; I’ve newly learned that the book should be forthcoming from Persea in 2015).
Where did the idea come from for the book?
It started with Sarah Wincheser—Victorian heiress to the rifle fortune. And the eccentric house she built in San Jose, California (legend says in order to appease the ghosts of everyone killed with Winchester rifles). I first toured the house ten years ago, and later realized I was still fascinated with it. What started as a couple of poems turned into a whole manuscript that spins out from her story and that time period and Westward Expansion and Winchester rifles and all sorts of other things that a pacifist vegetarian born in the South never knew she’d be writing about (though there are many personal resonances, too, of course).
What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry (with a lot of formal playfulness)
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Funny: I actually have a poem that refers to the top choices (according to the Winchester Mystery House website) to play Sarah in a movie (which is I believe forthcoming). They ranged the gamut from Britney Spears to Angela Lansbury. Maybe I’d vote for Kristin Scott Thomas just because I think she can play anyone with such nuance (and I think the nuance is usually lost in the legend about Sarah Winchester), though the role should also be quintessentially American.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Formally inventive poems that explore grief, 19th-century women’s lives, and the ways in which fact and legend about Westward Expansion and the American affair with guns aren’t always so separable.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Four years of writing and pretty substantial research. My first book, Mortal Geography, took fourteen. So I’m speeding up!
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
I don’t know of a lot of poetry books that might interest the NRA, haunted house enthusiasts, formal poetry enthusiasts, and history buffs. I’ve just been asked by the Moose Lodge in Moscow, Idaho, where I live to come give a talk about the poems because they think the community will be interested in a conversation about the gun poems and gun laws.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Poetry isn’t usually agented. I’m excited to be working with Persea again; they’re a fantastic press.
My tagged writers for next week are:
Dean Rader: http://www.deanrader.com/the-next-big-thing.html
Robin Ekiss: http://www.robinekiss.com/nextbigthing.html
Look for their words on March 13, 2013 at the links above.