The Next Big Thing

Since I last wrote these happened: big bad shingles for husband; chicken pox (caught from shingles) for baby; pneumonia for mama; add the holidays here and there; [and Tupelo’s 30/30 Project] [and the new year at the Collected Poets Series] and there you have the lost late autumn/early winter.

But here I am, and my good-hearted friend Tricia tagged me for the Next Big Thing series of interviews, which seems a nice re-entry and happy new year sort of post. My answers to the questions are below.

Be sure to check out Tricia’s post, and I hereby tag these fine writer friends to participate as well: Jeannine Hall Gailey (who was tagged in December before I got to her, but whose fun post bears re-reading), Erin Coughlin HollowellMolly Spencer, and Cindy Hunter Morgan. Edit update: go read Kate Hanson Foster‘s post too!

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book (or story)?

Plum & Wound

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is my first full-length manuscript, so it’s been in process for a number of years. Which is to say, its impetus is a constant flux.

What genre does your book fall under?


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

As my younger self, a brunette Emma Stone, and as my fully grown carnation, Tina Fey. Sassy, self-aware intelligence at its best. Not so much playing me as playing my idea of myself, my best version.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

To be woman and mother, a mother but no longer a daughter — these poems explore a world both particular and familiar, interior and intimate.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

No. I’ve been judiciously submitting P&W to a few small presses and contests (semi-finalist in the fall!), and it’s still in contention at a couple.

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

Since it’s my first, I’d say my entire life! But I only became aware that I was working toward a book in the last few years. It was a new way of thinking for me, that I actually had a body of work that was beginning to cohere into a whole.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Some recent books I’m drawn to, and which I therefore assume must share some kinship with me either in style, strategy, or subject, include (in no particular order): Mother Desert by Jo Sarzotti, Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith, The Game of Boxes by Catherine Barnett, Once by Meghan O’Rourke, Afterworld by Christine Garren, Prop Rockery by Emily Rosko, and Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam translated by Christian Wiman.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Every book I’ve ever read. My parents. My family. The living, the dead. The love I’m lucky enough to have in my life.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Poems are not autobiography, meaning that while I’m trying to get a handle on and explore true things — motherhood, mother loss, love in its various aspects — I’m not particularly bound by facts. But I like to think I’ve captured some of the essence of these things and that alone makes these poems worth writing, and hopefully reading.

4 responses to “The Next Big Thing”

  1. Oh, I love your last reply … it’s true that *most* poems, good poems, aren’t autobiographical, but sometimes [as you are] we’re living the life we write. Getting to the essence is what it’s all about. Congrats … on surviving a wonderful if rough patch of things and on The Next Big Thing.

  2. Love this! Hoping it gets out there!!

    Sorry about the shingles, the pox, etc. Sigh….

  3. […] enough about me. I’m tagging Marie Gauthier (who was also tagged by someone else, so her post is already up), Risa Denenberg, Drew Myron, Sally […]

  4. Simply cannot wait to read Plum & Wound! Congrats on the semi-finalist status, and for managing all the joy and grief of family life so beautifully.

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