A Word About Writing


An Interview with Author Helen Phillips and Editor Sarah Bowlin, by Celia Johnson

With the publication of her debut novel, The Beautiful Bureaucrat, Helen Phillips has been compared to a host of literary masters: Kafka, Davis, Calvino, Atwood, Saramago, Borges, and more. Take note of the breadth of that list. Clearly, by evoking so many great writers and not just one, Phillips has created a work very much her own. The Beautiful Bureaucrat is at once surreal and familiar. It is the story of Josephine, a young woman who moves to a city with her husband. Josephine finds work at The Database, which seems, at first, as mundane as it sounds. But she soon discovers that she has become part of something more sinister than she could ever imagine. I spoke with Phillips and her editor, Sarah Bowlin, about memorable characters, the creative process, unsung heroes in the publishing industry, and more. For more from Phillips and Bowlin, check out our upcoming writers’ conference. They are both lined up to take part in panels.

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An Interview with Steven Wingate, by Jennifer Fandel

Steven Wingate’s short fiction has appeared in Slice issues #3 (“In Translation”) and #12 (“Obsession”), including an audio excerpt in “In the Telling” featurette here. I’ll be exploring Thirty-One Octets: Incantations and Meditations (WordTech/CW Books, 2014), which is Wingate’s second collection of poetry, with this self-proclaimed genre nomad.

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An Interview with Author Patricia Park and Editor Pamela Dorman, by Celia Johnson

Patricia Park’s debut novel, Re Jane, is a modern-day retelling of Jane Eyre. The story moves from the heart of Queens, New York, over to Brooklyn, and as far away as Seoul. Park’s protagonist, Jane, is insightful, sensitive, and funny. But the entire cast of characters in this book are fully rendered and thoroughly entertaining, from Jane’s overly direct uncle, Sang, to the academia-entrenched professors who invite Jane to live with them as an au pair. I spoke with Park and her editor, Pamela Dorman, about writing, editing, the publishing process, and more.

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An Interview with Sara Nović, by Peter Kispert

Sara Nović’s stunning debut novel, Girl At War, concerns the realities of war and their effect on and shaping of a girl’s coming of age. Here, Nović responds to questions posed her about the novel’s development, her relationship with her characters, and the one question she wishes she were asked about her noveland her answer to it.

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An Interview with Author Valerie Geary and Editor Emily Krump, by Celia Johnson

Crooked River, a debut novel by Valerie Geary, is the story of two sisters who go to great lengths to save their father. Fifteen-year-old Sam and her ten-year-old sister, Ollie, don’t know everything about Bear, their beekeeper father. But both girls are certain that he is innocent of murder. Crooked River is a poignant tale of grief, ghosts, crime, and above all, family. I spoke with author Valerie Geary and her editor Emily Krump about the editorial process, what surprises authors after they land a book deal, and more.

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An Interview with Author Lily King and Editor Elisabeth Schmitz, by Heidi Sistare

Lily King’s most recent novel, Euphoria, is inspired by the life of Margaret Mead. The novel made many of the top book lists of 2014, including the New York Times Book Review, 10 Best Books of 2014, and NPR, Best Books of 2014. I interviewed Ms. King and her editor, Elisabeth Schmitz. They spoke about the writer and editor relationship, a childhood friendship, and the spark of inspiration.

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