Look ma! I’m on TV!

That’s right, folks: earlier this summer — on June 18, to be precise — I was on the local TV program Arts Alive, based in McMinnville, Oregon. Host Lynda Phillippi invited me on to talk about my Civil War novel Hagridden and the research trip I took to Louisiana. It was a great conversation, during which we talked about fiction, samurais, Southern regionalism, teaching research, and dead snakes in the road.

No kidding.

Big thanks to Lynda for having me on the show!

And I hope you, happy readers, enjoy the conversation as much as I did. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Look ma! I’m on TV!

  1. We have probably discussed this before, but the premise of ‘Hagridden’ is so ‘Onibaba’! I think you have picked a perfect premise to transfer into a Civil War context. I think many of the Samurai-to-Western straight adaptations miss nuances that your novel might (I hope) pick up. I can’t wait to read it.

  2. An interview of interest to writers generally, and also to readers with the challenging and novel novel idea. 🙂
    Given the scope of the theme, I am surprised that the book has such relative brevity. You don’t feel you have possibly pared it down a bit too much?

    1. Hey! Thanks for the comment!

      And you know, you ask a really good question. Obviously, I don’t feel I’ve pared it down too much — if I had more story to tell, I’d tell it. But that’s just me. Someone else might read it and decide there’s a lot more story to tell. If I get concrete feedback telling me what’s missing, and I agree with the gaps, I could certainly go in and add to the book. But I’m not seeing any gaps now, and I happen to prefer tight, concise novels. I once read an interview with Faulkner in which Faulkner compared short stories to novels and claimed that stories must be controlled and precise, but that in novels, one can get away with sloppier writing. That’s actually my biggest complaint about some of Faulkner’s novels — he lets himself be sloppy — and I see no reason why a novel can’t be as controlled and as precise as a story. Which isn’t really about length — it’s about concision, regardless of length.

      I once got feedback from a writing professor in grad school along these same lines. She told me she’d read a seven-page story I’d turned in and was surprised that it was only seven pages — she thought it FELT a lot longer. Which I took to mean that I can pack a LOT of story into a few words. I don’t know if that’s true every time, and I don’t know if it’s true of this book, but it’s an idea I latched onto and it’s something I try to do in all my work. Whether I succeed or not — whether this novel is too pared down or not — I’ll leave to readers to decide. 🙂

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