Shanna Compton


The Next Big Thing (or Sixth Time's a Charm)

I was tagged to do this self-interview by Barbara Jane Reyes, Danielle Pafunda, Sandra Simonds, Pattie McCarthy, Joanna Penn Cooper & George Murray. (Read theirs at the links. I think I waited so long some have taken them down??)

Every one of them a lovely, patient person who is not at all annoyed by how long I have taken to play along.

Here are my answers.

Q: What is the working title of the book? 

I have a newly released book, Brink, and a forthcoming book, The Seam. They sort of go together, and were originally one manuscript that I split. 

 Q: Where did the idea come from for the book? 

The poems in Brink were written individually in my usual catch-as-catch can manner, and after a certain point I began to notice themes emerging. Then I wrote more poems with those themes in mind.

The Seam
came out of my desire to write a "long poem." That's how I think of it, as one long piece, but it has turned out to be divided into three parts, and there are further divisions within those parts, so it may really be just as fair to call it a sequence. Whichever piques your interest more is fine.

The themes that emerged in Brink are continued in The Seam, but further along. I think of them as contemporary and future, now and later, before and after. Between the books—a blank space—the impending disaster threatening Brink takes place. Brink is about the hurtling-toward; The Seam is about climbing-back-out, post-disaster.

I wrote the first sections of The Seam after having a dream of one of the scenes.

 Q: What genre does your book fall under? 

Poetry. The Seam is speculative, fitting several of the characteristics of that mode, as listed here. It's a post-apocalyptic fantasy, with supernatural/weird elements.

 Q: What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 

I'm going to go with the obvious answer here: James Franco should play every role in both books. 

Sissy Spacek in 1967 could play Celo, the lead in the long poem, maybe. If she wore some tough boots.

 Q: What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? 

The Seam features a chorus of wanderers known as the Rovers, and a young woman named Celo, who find themselves stranded in a blighted semirural landscape after a disaster of uncertain origin.

But that leaves out the mutant jackrabbits.

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

The poems in Brink include some pieces written over the last several years, one as far back as 2003. But the bulk of them were probably 2009-2011. It came together slowly. Some of the current versions bear little resemblance to their original drafts.

I think I started working on the The Seam in earnest in 2009. It's been rewritten several times, and the most recent version was mostly done in spring 2012. I'm about to hit it again. (
It's typical for me to revise and rearrange right up until a book goes to the printer.)

 Q: Who or what inspired you to write this book? 

I think I sort of answered this already. I wrote until I found an interesting direction. But there are real events, dreams, news stories, revolutions, arguments with my spouse, regrets, memories, all those sorts of things in the poems. 

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

I think both of these books are very different than my previous books.

The Seam
 is easily the weirdest thing I've written, and the longest single piece (or series). Because I gave myself a lot of latitude and tried to push against my many comfortable boundaries, it may be interesting to readers to watch the ways it fails. 

 Q: Who is publishing your book?

Brink has been published by Bloof. The Seam will also be published by Bloof.

 If you are reading this, and haven't yet participated: tag, you're it.

1 comment:

Radish King said...

Most excellent. I can't wait for Seam