An Interview with Author Sarah Gerard
by Paul Florez
I first heard of author Sarah Gerard when I was a student at The New School’s MFA program (where she also did her MFA). My thesis was about my ongoing struggle with anorexia, and my advisor told me to look up Sarah’s debut novel, Binary Star, which follows the harrowing story of a woman suffering from an eating disorder.
Binary Star impacted the way I viewed my body. Sarah wrote that anorexia, like a pulsating star, burns fuel that isn’t replenished. I was instantly hooked on her writing. The novel’s prose was luminous and intoxicating, and it allowed me to see the forest for the trees when it came to my eating disorder.
A Sneak Peek at the 2018 SLICE Literary Writers’ Conference: An Interview with Literary Agent DongWon Song
Literary agent DongWon Song believes the future of publishing will be messy, but we aren’t doomed. Song works at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. Previously, he worked as an editor at Orbit Books. So he’s been on both sides of the fence. Throw in stints as a product manager for ebook startup Zola Books and an adjunct professor at the University of Portland and, as you’ll see in this latest interview in the Encounters in Publishing series, Song has a unique perspective on the industry. Survival, according to Song, is a matter of being smart, nimble, and adaptable. It doesn’t hurt to have a hobby, either (he’s a passionate woodworker). Learn more about Song’s views here, and don’t miss him at this year’s SLICE Literary Writers’ Conference (early bird registration just opened).
An Interview with Executive Editor Anna deVries
by Greg Stewart
For the latest interview in our Encounters in Publishing series, Anna deVries gave us a look into the day-to-day life of a book editor. In her role at Picador as Executive Editor, she enjoys the freedom to search for great books. Anna’s position requires that she has a hand in all parts of book production, from buying the manuscript to getting it into shape, to seeing the book designed, produced, marketed, and distributed. She offers great insight for anyone considering a job in publishing. She also discusses diversity in the publishing industry, looking at how this issue has been dealt with and what should happen in the future.
An Interview with YA Author and HarperCollins Publicist Martin Wilson
by Paul Florez-Taylor
Author Martin Wilson isn’t afraid to tackle heavy themes in his sophomore novel, We Now Return to Regular Life. Inspired by harrowing real-life stories like Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart, the novel follows the story of a young boy named Sam returning home following his abduction years prior. However, returning home isn’t the happy ending to Sam’s story. It’s only the beginning. What follows is a gut-wrenching unraveling of secrets and regrets that shake Sam’s family and friends to their very core.
I’ve known Martin since I began working with him at HarperCollins back in 2015, and I’ve always admired his tenacious attitude when it comes to balancing his responsibilities as a publicist and a writer.
Martin and I sat down on our lunch to discuss the misconceptions that come with writing a second novel, judging a book by its cover, and that icky feeling that comes when your computer is hacked.
An Interview with Publishing Manager Porscha Burke
by Greg Stewart
Porscha Burke is a Publishing Manager at the Random House Publishing Group. Throughout her career in book publishing she has worked with award-winning and bestselling authors including Maya Angelou and the former Chief of Police in Dallas David Brown. In this interview, Porscha provides insight into the intersection of her life as a Queens native and her role of writing about hip hop and working with seminal African American voices. She grew up in a thriving arts and culture scene, and then broke into the book industry as an assistant to Random House Publishing Group president and publisher Gina Centrello. Recently, Porscha finished an MFA in nonfiction from Goucher College, and now teaches there as an adjunct professor. She has also taken part in the SLICE’s annual writers’ conference. Porscha discusses how editors function behind-the-scenes at Penguin Random House, the role of books in the world of hip hop, and much more.
An Interview with Steve Erickson
by Bruce Bauman
In his ten novels and two nonfiction books since the debut of Days Between Stations in 1985, Steve Erickson has created a world unlike that of any author working today. When people ask me to describe Erickson’s work—as they often do, knowing I was senior editor for thirteen years on the national literary journal Black Clock, of which Erickson was co-founder and editor-in-chief—I quote the Lovin’ Spoonful: “It’s like tryin’ to tell a stranger about rock ’n roll.” Erickson is a literary magician. His work is a unique North American magical realism: Faulkner meets García Márquez meets the Dylan of Highway 61 Revisited. In the last thirty years he has imagined a reality both completely recognizable and what only can be called “Ericksonian.” Writers from Jonathan Lethem to Rick Moody to Mark Z. Danielewski have credited his influence. While working with him on Black Clock, I saw the respect and admiration he received from David Foster Wallace, Richard Powers, Joanna Scott, Susan Straight, Samuel Delany, T. C. Boyle, Aimee Bender, Greil Marcus, Janet Fitch, Geoff Nicholson, and Don DeLillo. Erickson has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. Recently Steve and I talked over Mexican food and via email about literature, politics, being and becoming a writer in these times, and his new mindblower, Shadowbahn [out in paperback February 2018].