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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Interview with Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift


Please welcome Namwali Serpell to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Old Drift was published on March 26, 2019 by Hogarth.



Interview with Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Namwali:  In fifth grade, I started writing a children's book about the invention of the alphabet. "Ay!" "It's a bee!" "See?"



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Namwali:  Hybrid. I know the plot of land but not what will spring from the soil as I garden.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Namwali:  Suppressing my impulse toward beauty, particularly similes.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Namwali:  Bugs, the Zambian space program, hair, the cosmopolis, syncretism, etymology, microbiology, eyes, fairy tales, sci-fi, chitenge.



TQDescribe The Old Drift using only 5 words.

Namwali:  The (My) Great Zambian Novel.



TQTell us something about The Old Drift that is not found in the book description.

Namwali:  Sex and menstruation happen at an almost realistic frequency.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Old Drift?

Namwali:  I wanted to figure out the specific nature of my country--what philosophers would call its "quiddity."



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Old Drift?

Namwali:  All sorts: History (how was the Kariba Dam built?); microbiology (what's the likeliest HIV vaccine?); engineering (why aren't microdrones smaller yet?); pop culture (when did He-Man figurines first get exported to Zambia?); tech (can human skin conduct enough electricity to run a smartphone?).



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Old Drift. Who created the cover?

Namwali:  Kai and Sunny. The keywords I gave them were: MOSQUITOS, DRIFT, WATERFALL.



TQIn The Old Drift who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Namwali:  The easiest was Joseph--nerdy, self-pitying. The hardest was Lee--beautiful, callous.



TQDoes The Old Drift touch on any social issues?

Namwali:  Yes, it ends with an attempt at a Marxist revolution! Race, class, gender, sexuality--all the goodies.



TQWhich question about The Old Drift do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Namwali:  Is this an allusion to Björk? YES.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Old Drift.

Namwali:  "Every family is a war but some are more civil than others."



TQWhat's next?

Namwali:  A nonfiction book about why I love-hate American Psycho and two novels, one about vengeance, one about mourning.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Namwali:  Thanks!





The Old Drift
Hogarth, March 26, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 576 pages

Interview with Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift
An electrifying debut from the winner of the 2015 Caine Prize for African writing, The Old Drift is the Great Zambian Novel you didn’t know you were waiting for

On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there was once a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. Here begins the epic story of a small African nation, told by a mysterious swarm-like chorus that calls itself man’s greatest nemesis. The tale? A playful panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction. The moral? To err is human.

In 1904, in a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives – their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes – form a symphony about what it means to be human.

From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines – this gripping, unforgettable novel sweeps over the years and the globe, subverting expectations along the way. Exploding with color and energy, The Old Drift is a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and a meditation on the slow, grand passage of time.





About Namwali

Interview with Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift
Photo © Peg Skorpinski
NAMWALI SERPELL is a Zambian writer who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award for women writers in 2011 and was selected for the Africa 39, a 2014 Hay Festival project to identify the best African writers under 40. She won the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing. The Old Drift is her first novel.









Website Twitter @namwalien


2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Winner


The winner of the January 2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Sky Is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith from Hogarth with 81% of the votes. The cover was created by Michael Morris, a designer at Crown.


The Sky Is Yours
Hogarth, January 23, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Winner
“There have been a lot of books heralded as heirs to Infinite Jest, but I can happily say: this is it.” — Leah Schnelbach, Tor.com

A sprawling, genre-defying epic set in a dystopian metropolis plagued by dragons, this debut about what it’s like to be young in a very old world is pure storytelling pleasure


In the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies. When violence strikes, reality star Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, the spoiled scion of the metropolis’ last dynasty; Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg, his tempestuous, death-obsessed betrothed; and Abby, a feral beauty he discovered tossed out with the trash; are forced to flee everything they’ve ever known. As they wander toward the scalded heart of the city, they face fire, conspiracy, mayhem, unholy drugs, dragon-worshippers, and the monsters lurking inside themselves. In this bombshell of a novel, Chandler Klang Smith has imagined an unimaginable world: scathingly clever and gorgeously strange, The Sky Is Yours is at once faraway and disturbingly familiar, its singular chaos grounded in the universal realities of love, family, and the deeply human desire to survive at all costs.

The Sky Is Yours is incredibly cinematic, bawdy, rollicking, hilarious, and utterly unforgettable, a debut that readers who loved Cloud Atlas, Super Sad True Love Story, and Blade Runner will adore.





The Results
2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Winner





January 2018 Debuts 
2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Winner

Interview with Chandler Klang Smith, author of The Sky Is Yours


Please welcome Chandler Klang Smith to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Sky Is Yours was published on January 23rd by Hogarth.



Interview with Chandler Klang Smith, author of The Sky Is Yours




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Chandler:  I was recently visiting my parents in Springfield, Illinois, when I found a collection of short stories I wrote in second grade entitled My Big Book. It was full of invented fairy tales (like one where a knight slays an alligator to rescue a princess, only to have her plot to kill him) and surreal Kafkaesque parables (like one where a little girl wakes up with a fishtail in place of her legs). I barely remembered it existed, but saw a curious connection to my adult sensibilities. I guess I never change.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Chandler:  Definitely a bit of both: I map things out for a while, get bored and dig into the minutiae of a scene… before getting back into a Big Picture Mode again.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Chandler:  I'm a perfectionist so when I can't get something right the first time, I get stuck in a morass of self-loathing. I'm better now than I used to be at realizing things will turn around, but it's still a struggle.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Chandler:  Oh my God, so many things. I love pop surrealist art like the paintings of Mark Ryden. Films like Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. Music: Bjork, Radiohead, The Pixies. And of course I have countless literary influences – off the top of my head, Jonathan Lethem, Susanna Clarke, Angela Carter, Mark Z. Danielewski, Kelly Link, Donald Barthelme, Stephen Wright, Kazuo Ishiguro, Thomas Pynchon. Recently I've been digging Victor LaValle, Jeff VanderMeer, Dexter Palmer, and Manuel Gonzales.



TQDescribe The Sky Is Yours in 140 characters or less.

Chandler:  This is a story of what it is to be young in a very old world #dragons



TQTell us something about The Sky Is Yours that is not found in the book description.

Chandler:  This book contains an ax battle.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Sky Is Yours? Why did you set the novel in a dystopian future New York City?

Chandler:  Because I was living in a dystopian present-day New York City! That sounds like a joke, but it's not. I remember sitting outside on my lunch break, working on this novel in the shadow of the Lipstick Building where Bernie Madoff practiced his Ponzi scheme. My materials may be fantastical but I'm interested in exploring the same kinds of rottenness we see in our world.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Sky Is Yours?

Chandler:  No research per se writing: this book was really about spelunking the depths of my own imagination. I did look up some technical firefighting terminology for one passage but that was about it.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Sky Is Yours.

Chandler:  The iconic neon cover was created by Michael Morris, a brilliant designer at Crown. It depicts the two dragons, yellow and green, circling over the city. Early in the novel I describe them as twisting together like the helix of DNA, which I think inspired the ouroboros motif. I absolutely adore it, and I'm dazzled by how much better it is than anything I could have come up with myself.



TQIn The Sky Is Yours who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Chandler:  The easiest character to write was Uncle Osmond, the Ripple family’s decadent black sheep intellectual. His voice was an excuse to crack myself up. The most difficult character to write was the Fire Chief Paxton Trank. I went through many iterations with his character before I figured it out what his real motivation was.



TQWhich question about The Sky Is Yours do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Chandler:  Does the dog have hands? Yes, the dog has hands.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Sky Is Yours.

Chandler:

“Ripple doesn't understand delayed gratification or compromise, he's never seen the point. He doesn't want to want; he's never wanted for anything. It's not in his nature. He's been spoiled to perfection. He has foie gras for brains.”

&

“The prison colony is a special kind of damage to the city: a collaboration between the dragons and ourselves. A hell we built together.”



TQWhat's next?

Chandler:  I'm working on a new novel, a noir about an obsessive love affair that transports a couple into a heightened, unreal fantasy space. It's just as weird as this book been but in a completely different way.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chandler:  Thank you!





The Sky Is Yours
Hogarth, January 23, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages

Interview with Chandler Klang Smith, author of The Sky Is Yours
“There have been a lot of books heralded as heirs to Infinite Jest, but I can happily say: this is it.” — Leah Schnelbach, Tor.com

A sprawling, genre-defying epic set in a dystopian metropolis plagued by dragons, this debut about what it’s like to be young in a very old world is pure storytelling pleasure


In the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies. When violence strikes, reality star Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, the spoiled scion of the metropolis’ last dynasty; Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg, his tempestuous, death-obsessed betrothed; and Abby, a feral beauty he discovered tossed out with the trash; are forced to flee everything they’ve ever known. As they wander toward the scalded heart of the city, they face fire, conspiracy, mayhem, unholy drugs, dragon-worshippers, and the monsters lurking inside themselves. In this bombshell of a novel, Chandler Klang Smith has imagined an unimaginable world: scathingly clever and gorgeously strange, The Sky Is Yours is at once faraway and disturbingly familiar, its singular chaos grounded in the universal realities of love, family, and the deeply human desire to survive at all costs.

The Sky Is Yours is incredibly cinematic, bawdy, rollicking, hilarious, and utterly unforgettable, a debut that readers who loved Cloud Atlas, Super Sad True Love Story, and Blade Runner will adore.





About Chandler

Interview with Chandler Klang Smith, author of The Sky Is Yours
Photo: © Eric Taxier
CHANDLER KLANG SMITH is a fiction writer from Springfield, Illinois. She graduated from Bennington College and has an MFA from Columbia University. She currently lives in New York City.










Website  ~  Twitter @leggysnake

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Shakespeare - Monstrous Little Voices and Hogarth Shakespeare


April 23rd marks the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare's death. Hogarth and Abaddon Books both have Shakespeare related works coming out. Here's what is available and upcoming for both publishers.


Monstrous Little Voices

Abaddon Books has released a series of five e-novellas which will be published in print in Monstrous Little Voices on March 8th. Monstrous Little Voices is a single long tale set in Shakespeare’s fantasy world of fairies, wizards and potions.


Foz Meadows

Coral Bones
Monstrous Little Voices 1
Abaddon Books, January 8, 2016
eBook, 53 pages

Miranda, daughter to Prospero, the feared sorcerer-Duke of Milan, stifles in her new marriage. Oppressed by her father, unloved by Ferdinand, she seeks freedom; and is granted it, when her childhood friend, the fairy spirit Ariel, returns. Miranda sets out to reach Queen Titania’s court in Illyria, to make a new future...



Kate Heartfield

The Course of True Love
Monstrous Little Voices 2
Abaddon Books, January 22, 2016
eBook, 63 pages

Pomona, a gifted hedge-witch of advancing years in fair Illyria, is walking about her own business when she spies a fairy gentleman trapped in a secret garden. Vertumnus, King Oberon’s emissary to the Duke, has been taken captive by proud Titania, and a war is in the offing... unless Pomona can prevent it.



Emma Newman

The Unkindest Cut
Monstrous Little Voices 3
Abaddon Books, February 5, 2016
eBook, 44 pages

Lucia de Medici sought only to marry, ending a war that has engulfed all the world from Navarre to Istanbul; but she has been lied to, and made into an assassin. Now, armed with new knowledge and accompanied by the ghost of her victim, she sets out to find who so deceived her, and to what end, and to try and restore the damage done.



Adrian Tchaikovsky

Even in the Cannon's Mouth
Monstrous Little Voices 4
Abaddon Books, February 19, 2016
eBook, 64 pages

Illyria’s Duke Orsino has raised new, powerful allies, and in a last-ditch attempt to win the war, Don Pedro and his brother John, wise old Jacques and the physician Helena sail to Milan to appeal in person for the wizard Prospero’s aid. But unseasonal storms drive them onto the Illyrian shore, and into the hands of their enemies...



Jonathan Barnes

On the Twelfth Night
Monstrous Little Voices 5
Abaddon Books, March 4, 2016
eBook, 48 pages

Anne Hathaway – contented wife of a glovemaker and aletaster, proud mother of three – has her life turned upside down when strangers, oddly familiar, come to her door and whisk her husband away. What is their business, this terrible danger they say we all face? What is the lattice, and what part must her Will play to save it?



Monstrous Little Voices: New Tales Shakespeare's Fantasy World
Abaddon Books, March 8, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

It is the time of Shakespeare. Storms rage, armies clash, magics are done - and stories are made. Five new great and terrible tales reshape the Bard’s vision, a new set of stories that will be told and retold down through the centuries.

It is the Year of Our Lord 1601. The Tuscan War rages across the world, and every lord from Navarre to Illyria is embroiled in the fray. Cannon roar, pikemen clash, and witches stalk the night; even the fairy courts stand on the verge of chaos.

Five stories come together at the end of the war: that of bold Miranda and sly Puck; of wise Pomona and her prisoner Vertumnus; of gentle Lucia and the shade of Prospero; of noble Don Pedro and powerful Helena; and of Anne, a glovemaker’s wife. On these lovers and heroes the world itself may depend.

Monstrous Little Voices collects five of today’s most exciting names in genre fiction – Jonathan Barnes (The Somnambulist, Cannonbridge); Adrian Tchaikovsky (The Shadows of the Apt, Children of Time); Emma Newman (The Split Worlds, multiple-award-nominated Tea and Jeopardy podcast); Hugo-nominated blogger Foz Meadows (Solace & Grief, The Key to Starveldt’s); and upcoming novelist (and journalist for the Ottawa Citizen) Kate Heartfield – to delve into the world Shakespeare created for us. With wars and romances, its magics and deceptions, discover five stories he never told, but could have. Stories of what happened next or what went before, of the things unseen or simply elsewhere in the world as Shakespeare’s own tales unfolded on the stage.






Hogarth Shakespeare

Hogarth is publishing a series of novels that are contemporary retellings of Shakespeares plays. Here is what is available or upcoming and some information about what is to come for Hogarth Shakespeare. Read more about Hogarth Shakespeare here.





Published or soon to be published.

Jeanette Winterson

The Gap of Time
Hogarth, October 6, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s “late plays.” It tells the story of a king whose jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter and the death of his beautiful wife. His daughter is found and brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of extraordinary events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited.

In The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale, we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crisis, to a storm-ravaged American city called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, technology and the elliptical nature of time. Written with energy and wit, this is a story of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and redemption and the enduring love of a lost child on the other.



Howard Jacobson

Shylock Is My Name
Hogarth, February 9, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Man Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson brings his singular brilliance to this modern re-imagining of one of Shakespeare’s most unforgettable characters: Shylock

Winter, a cemetery, Shylock. In this provocative and profound interpretation of “The Merchant of Venice,” Shylock is juxtaposed against his present-day counterpart in the character of art dealer and conflicted father Simon Strulovitch. With characteristic irony, Jacobson presents Shylock as a man of incisive wit and passion, concerned still with questions of identity, parenthood, anti-Semitism and revenge. While Strulovich struggles to reconcile himself to his daughter Beatrice’s “betrayal” of her family and heritage – as she is carried away by the excitement of Manchester high society, and into the arms of a footballer notorious for giving a Nazi salute on the field – Shylock alternates grief for his beloved wife with rage against his own daughter’s rejection of her Jewish upbringing.

Culminating in a shocking twist on Shylock’s demand for the infamous pound of flesh, Jacobson’s insightful retelling examines contemporary, acutely relevant questions of Jewish identity while maintaining a poignant sympathy for its characters and a genuine spiritual kinship with its antecedent—a drama which Jacobson himself considers to be “the most troubling of Shakespeare’s plays for anyone, but, for an English novelist who happens to be Jewish, also the most challenging.”



Anne Tyler

Vinegar Girl
Hogarth, June 7, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 240 pages

Pulitzer Prize winner and American master Anne Tyler brings us an inspired, witty and irresistible contemporary take on one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?



Upcoming

Margaret Atwood - The Tempest

Jo Nesbo - Macbeth

Tracy Chevalier - Othello

Edward St. Aubyn - King Lear

Gillian Flynn - Hamlet

Interview with Kenneth Calhoun, author of Black Moon - March 8, 2014


Please welcome Kenneth Calhoun to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Black Moon was published on March 4, 2014 by Hogarth.



Interview with Kenneth Calhoun, author of Black Moon - March 8, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Kenneth:  I started writing at a very young age, mostly because I was a pretty avid reader and wanted to make stories happen like the authors of my favorite books. I also received a lot of positive response from my parents and their friends about stories I wrote when I first learned how to write sentences (see the bio page of my site). I saw that stories transported people and I wanted to send them places. I remember telling my brother stories in our shared room at night, reciting story albums I listened to at school. He was older and normally not too interested in what I had to say, except when I was telling stories at night.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Kenneth:  I’m kind of both, actually. I don’t really outline, but I do work out in my head (and sometimes in a very sparse bullet point list), where I want things to go. But I’m pretty quick to deviate or abandon these plans if something “organic” happens on the page. I do think it’s good to have some idea of an ending. But, again, nothing should be chained to the floor or strapped in, in case the story goes off a cliff and lands in deep water.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Kenneth:  The most challenging thing is actually just sitting down and doing it. Sometimes just finding your way into a story can take forever. It’s like a house with no door. It’s very discouraging to know that what you are writing is probably just the bad stuff that you need to get out of your system. Every time I start a story it feels like I’m standing in the foothills of a vast mountain range that I must scale. Knowing this is a pretty formidable barrier to entry. I wonder why I should even begin such an undertaking. But somehow I eventually go forward.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Kenneth:  Julio Cortazar, Kafka, J.G. Ballard, Bruno Schulz, Hemingway, Graham Greene, Flannery O’Connor, Donald Barthleme, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood, Aimee Bender, Charles Portis, Diane Williams, Sheila Heti, Nabokov, Calvino, George Saunders, Sam Lipsyte, Robert Stone, Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur Bradford, Jim Thompson, A.M. Homes, E. B. White and the Brothers Grimm.



TQ:  You teach graphic design and have done work in a variety of creative fields including documentary filmmaking. How has this influenced (or not) your fiction writing?

Kenneth:  More than design, I think editing video has really helped me develop timing and structure. It’s very important to understand the power of juxtaposition, of true montage or collision editing. When two images or sequences are placed side-by-side, a third meaning arises in the mind of the viewer. This is an important tool for writing with concision and suggestion—leaving a lot off the page, though it is strongly implied.

Another idea from design that I find myself contemplating (or working against) is the notion of “snap to grid”. This is a setting in tools like Photoshop that automatically align compositional elements along the lines of a grid or guides. If the notion is applied to writing, it could result in lazy and trite storytelling. With certain kinds of storytelling, you really feel the pull of the grid. As a writer, you have to work hard to place things between the lines, at random and idiosyncratic locations along the spectrum of ideas.



TQ:  Describe Black Moon in 140 characters or less.

Kenneth:  I want to borrow Nabokov’s “Picnic, lightning.” But how about: “Multiple characters fight against the irreversible current of an insomnia epidemic to stay connected in a flood of dreams and hallucinations.”



TQ:  Tell us something about Black Moon that is not in the book description.

Kenneth:  There are only two mentions of guns in the entire book.



TQBlack Moon is an apocalypse by insomnia literary novel. Why did you write an apocalyptic novel? And why insomnia?

Kenneth:  I am a child of the Cold War and now have a rather warped nostalgia for apocalypse. It always seemed to be hovering over us, the end. I had countless dreams of nuclear winter and a landscape transformed into obsidian by a blinding blast. I truly believe that a part of me assumed it would happen. I assert that this assumption made me, in some ways, an underachiever and noncommittal. My thinking was, Why bother? But then, here we are. Apocalypse is still looming, but flavored differently—more so about epidemics, climate change and the death of Nature than the Bomb. My attempt to embrace—that is, hold it so close it can’t hurt you—these new forms of societal collapse takes the shape of literary simulations. Black Moon is one of these simulations.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Black Moon?

Kenneth:  I read a number of articles about insomnia and actually spoke to brain specialists and sleep experts, though not very extensively. Like at parties or bars. I watched some fascinating videos of actual brain implant surgeries. Mostly, though, I have a few people close to me that struggle with insomnia and I observed their struggles with both sadness and artistic interest.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Kenneth:  I would say the easiest character to write was Biggs, because he’s most like me. The hardest was Carolyn, because I needed to understand her, but make her difficult to understand.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite lines from Black Moon.

Kenneth:  “A storm seemed to crabwalk over the plateau, rushing toward them on crooked stilts of light, and wind filled their mouths with thin, cold air.”



TQ:  What's next?

Kenneth:  I am eager to complete a new novel, which is about the transformation of Southern California in the 1980s, punk rock, coyotes, hidden treasure, landfills and a possible feral child. It is currently called “Cucamonga,” which is where I’m from. I also have a collection of short stories that I’d like to re-sequence and tighten, plus fatten up with a few new stories. There are many other projects, including some interactive stories, in development.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Black Moon

Black Moon
Hogarth, March 4, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Interview with Kenneth Calhoun, author of Black Moon - March 8, 2014
For fans of The Age of Miracles and The Dog Stars, Black Moon is a hallucinatory and stunning debut that Charles Yu calls “Gripping and expertly constructed.”

Insomnia has claimed everyone Biggs knows. Even his beloved wife, Carolyn, has succumbed to the telltale red-rimmed eyes, slurred speech and cloudy mind before disappearing into the quickly collapsing world. Yet Biggs can still sleep, and dream, so he sets out to find her.

He ventures out into a world ransacked by mass confusion and desperation, where he meets others struggling against the tide of sleeplessness. Chase and his buddy Jordan are devising a scheme to live off their drug-store lootings; Lila is a high school student wandering the streets in an owl mask, no longer safe with her insomniac parents; Felicia abandons the sanctuary of a sleep research center to try to protect her family and perhaps reunite with Chase, an ex-boyfriend. All around, sleep has become an infinitely precious commodity. Money can’t buy it, no drug can touch it, and there are those who would kill to have it. However, Biggs persists in his quest for Carolyn, finding a resolve and inner strength that he never knew he had.

Kenneth Calhoun has written a brilliantly realized and utterly riveting depiction of a world gripped by madness, one that is vivid, strange, and profoundly moving.







About Kenneth

Interview with Kenneth Calhoun, author of Black Moon - March 8, 2014
Photo © Anya Belkina
KENNETH CALHOUN has had stories published in The Paris Review, Tin House, and the 2011 Pen/O. Henry Prize Collection, among others. He lives in Boston, where he is a graphic design professor at Lasell College.



Website  ~  Twitter @KennethJCalhoun  ~  Facebook



Kenneth at i09: I didn't realize I was writing a science fiction novel







2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun



2014 Debut Author Challenge Update -  Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.



Kenneth Calhoun

Black Moon
Hogarth, March 4, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update -  Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun
For fans of The Age of Miracles and The Dog Stars, Black Moon is a hallucinatory and stunning debut that Charles Yu calls “Gripping and expertly constructed.”

Insomnia has claimed everyone Biggs knows. Even his beloved wife, Carolyn, has succumbed to the telltale red-rimmed eyes, slurred speech and cloudy mind before disappearing into the quickly collapsing world. Yet Biggs can still sleep, and dream, so he sets out to find her.

He ventures out into a world ransacked by mass confusion and desperation, where he meets others struggling against the tide of sleeplessness. Chase and his buddy Jordan are devising a scheme to live off their drug-store lootings; Lila is a high school student wandering the streets in an owl mask, no longer safe with her insomniac parents; Felicia abandons the sanctuary of a sleep research center to try to protect her family and perhaps reunite with Chase, an ex-boyfriend. All around, sleep has become an infinitely precious commodity. Money can’t buy it, no drug can touch it, and there are those who would kill to have it. However, Biggs persists in his quest for Carolyn, finding a resolve and inner strength that he never knew he had.

Kenneth Calhoun has written a brilliantly realized and utterly riveting depiction of a world gripped by madness, one that is vivid, strange, and profoundly moving.


Interview with Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January WinnerInterview with Chandler Klang Smith, author of The Sky Is YoursShakespeare - Monstrous Little Voices and Hogarth ShakespeareInterview with Kenneth Calhoun, author of Black Moon - March 8, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Update -  Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

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