A huge thank you to Travis Cebula for including me in his The Next Big Thing invitation. This is an amazing project for writers and readers of contemporary literature. While I was sending out my own invitations for participation, I was shocked to discover how many of the fantastic writers I know and work with have already sent out their versions of this interview, which signifies one of two things:
1.) I’m late to the party. Or,
2.) This really is The Next Big Thing.
I’m going to assume the latter is the case. The Next Big Thing is an opportunity the writing community is seizing. Poets and writers seem to be taking matters (marketing) and means (the Internet) into their own hands by representing themselves and their projects freely, and as direct reflections of their control. It’s the antithesis of mainstream advertising, and, boy oh boy, it makes me so happy to be a small part of such things. Bravo and onward, always.
What is/was the working title of the book?
The Important Questions or The Prettiest Girl in the World.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Reading “The Miranda Agreement,” listening to country music, the character Florentino Ariza in Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, Bruce Springsteen, and a fantastic man who plays his saxophone to the ocean everyday.
What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry. Serial, serial poetry. Serial, serial storytelling.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
The narrator remains genderless throughout the book; however I see the “I” as a man: an old gun-slinging cowboy, who’s possibly from Texas, or my home state, Wyoming. He says things like, “If you’re not the hunter, that makes you one thing, one thing I wouldn’t want to be.” Implying… well… implying a lot of things. So, I’d choose Chuck Connors from the TV show “Rifleman.” His persona was smart, but not traditionally smart, just street smart. Plus, he was a looker.
The character of the prettiest girl in the world is completely immune to the concept of responsibility. She’s spoiled, intentionally ignorant, and says things like, “If I wanted to tell you the truth, I would have already done it.”
She’s also impossible to please. So in my mind she looks like Jane Fonda in “Barbarella,” but acts like the Holly GoLightly character from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
I’m going to use an excerpt from the book (that’s more than one sentence):
“In fact, I’m only here to ask the important questions:
Snack box, does anyone want a snack box?
Does anyone want a sunset, the kind that never runs out?”
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This book came together quickly. Maybe 8 months.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Law enforcement (“Real-deal criminals”).
Marketing/Advertising (the idea one can strive for a canned image).
And every over-used, quick-fix “reasonable saying” in the world (“Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise”).
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The book will haunt anyone who’s ever had an intentional end-game, or anyone who’s lost sight of the details while seeking the big picture, the “win.” Both the “Questions” and the “Girl” are relative ideologies, relative, of course, to the reader and the reader’s prior life experiences. Cautious of that awareness, the book attempts to remain vague enough to mimic our subconscious inclinations. For example, “Desperation, however, is relative to one’s circumstance. One’s circumstances are relative to the number of unfortunate coincidences one encounters.”
I also juxtapose constructs like forgiveness, religion, and basic survival with the trivial “Important Questions” (see above: “Snack box, does anyone want a snack box?”) and the superficial “Prettiest Girl,” which subverts the more–– dare I say–– “political” messages. At times, it’s pretty damn funny, but it’s also pretty damn realistic. The narrator says: “She asked me again: Will the meek really inherit the Earth?” Implying… well, again… implying a lot of things.
My hope is that the reader will finish the book and wonder whether they should laugh or cry.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My last book The Principle Agent (2011), and my next book After the Fox (2014) have been picked up by Black Lawrence Press. Black Lawrence read and passed on this manuscript. It’ll find a home, though. No doubt. I don’t self-publish any of my books, so I’m still sending this manuscript to small presses, looking for just the right place to rest these pretty, pretty, important pages.
A huge thanks to In Stereo Press, who published some of the work from The Important Questions or The Prettiest Girl in the World. Here’s a link:
And here’s a link to my 2011 collection The Principle Agent: http://www.blacklawrence.com/SarahSuzor.html
Who are the Next Big Things?