18 December, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Thank you to the lovely and talented Amy Stuart for linking me into this chain. It’s always fun to answer questions on stuff you’re writing… a good way to pretend it exists outside of your own head/computer.

1. What is the working title of your book?

How to grow your heart.

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

It's a weird sort of fictional memoir, I guess. Trying to capture how memory and understanding work through imagination, projection. How this is both magical and terribly lonely. The work involved in knowing anyone ends up being mostly trust and faith, exactly as hard as maintaining certain kinds of religious beliefs - like transubstantiation, the existence of GOD - that are, these beliefs, impossibly real.

All of that's a long way of saying the idea for the book grew out of my experience living with someone who turned out to have a serious eating disorder. Trying to figure out how to empathize, help, understand, cope, deal, maintain basic sanity while watching someone trying to kill themselves, slowly, still.

3. What genre does it fall under?

Fictional memoir? Is there such a thing?

4. Which actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie version?

Amanda - Keira Knightly from the film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go (about orphans raised to have their organs harvested)

Brother - Tom Waits, when he was younger.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book?

A young girl lives with anorexia through the eyes of her bewildered, floundering brother.

6. Will the book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Out of my hands.

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

Still in progress. Parts of an earlier, long-ish thing were salvaged, all that was fruitful from a year of work. Taking a break at the moment, gathering strength, resolve, purpose, motivational calories.

8. What other books would you compare yours to?

No idea. I just borrowed Rick Moody's memoir, from the library, thinking it may be a good template. I'm hoping to do something incredibly sad that doesn't read like a funeral dirge. Suggestions welcome.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My life.

10. What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?

I've never read anything about what anorexia looks like, what it's like to live with someone who's self-denying. Only what it's like to be the person s.-d.-ing, which first-person accounts seem to have legitimacy that other-person accounts lack. That's my gut reaction, anyway, like who am I to write about this other person's suffering. This raises anxiety about experience appropriation, how pain and suffering are objective and subjective - respectively - and what that means for having any kind of meaningful relationship with anyone, ever.

Now, go read: