The Way Of TaoInterview by Brandon Tietz
I was at Urban Outfitters shopping for overpriced t-shirts when I first encountered Tao, existentially speaking. Staring up at me with its minimalist cover design was a little novella called, Shoplifting From American Apparel. The title grabbed me, so I did what I do with any book: read the synopsis, the author bio, a random page in the middle. Later that night, I’ve got the novella sitting next to my Mac as I’m looking this guy up on Wikipedia.
Tao Lin: 26 years old, lives in New York. Has published five books.
After my initial Keanu Reeves “whoa” moment, I dig deeper.
Tao Lin: sells six shares of his to-be-released novel, Richard Yates, for $2,000 a piece. Also: arrested twice for shoplifting. Writes book based on it.
And as I keep poking around, it becomes obvious that Tao is doing something differently. Whether it’s getting banned from a publication for excessive zeal or posting emails from an unhappy editor on his website, Tao may not be the “bad boy of literature,” but he’s making a name for himself as a guy to keep an eye on. When an author can treat their novel like the stock market, it’s a sign of things to come.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tao over the course of a couple weeks about his take on writing, as well as a few other topics ranging from Lindsay Lohan to the menu at Wendy’s. read more »
The Architect of the Trojan Horse that is Little BeeInterview by Kasey Carpenter
I recently caught Chris Cleave in Dallas as he wrapped up a 35 day tour across the US promoting his second novel, Little Bee, now being released in paperback. Little Bee is a New York Times Bestseller, shortlisted for the 2008 Costa Novel Award, nominated for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, long-listed for IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.
We scheduled an hour, and wound up chatting for about four. We talked about Little Bee, the fear of screen adaptations (of his first book, Incendiary and the upcoming adaptation of Little Bee), rewriting Star Wars, what literature needs to learn from the music industry, and why being asked if you want the keys to the minibar at check-in is such a loaded question. These are the highlights, culled from the audio: read more »
One of Our OwnInterview by Brandon Tietz
I don’t know how the hell Richard Thomas sleeps at night.
A husband and father of two in pursuit of his MFA, he’s an art director, accomplished short story writer (3:AM, Dogmatika, Colored Chalk), and a moderator in the Chuck Palahniuk Writer’s Workshop, reading well over 100 pieces per month for the anthology project (just so you don’t go thinking all he does is diffuse flame wars). As if that wasn’t enough, Richard’s also been working on his neo-noir debut called Transubstantiate, an ambitious first effort that fans of the genre and Lost will be sure to enjoy.
Like I said, I don’t know how he sleeps, but with this first book under his belt, it looks like the late nights are about to pay off…and no one deserves it more. read more »
William Lashner’s MetamorphosisInterview by Rob Hart
So, funny story: Tyler Knox is not actually a real person.
After reading his fantastic "debut" novel Kockroach, I consulted Tyler's Web site and shot off an e-mail to his agent, asking if I could set up an interview. She gave me contact info for William Lashner. I figured he was a publicist.
Actually, Lashner is the New York Times Bestselling author of the Victor Carl series - Killer's Kiss, Marked Man, Falls the Shadow, Past Due, Fatal Flaw, Bitter Truth and Hostile Witness, as well as Blood and Bone, a standalone thriller.
He's also Tyler Knox. read more »
Heartburn and Brain FreezeInterview by Christopher Stipp
Pop culture needs more people like Chuck Klosterman.
Klosterman seems to have that rarefied ability to make astute, observational stances for any number of subjects. From football plays to deconstructing the time he spent with Val Kilmer, he is possessed with an uncanny knack for indulging a wide variety of subjects and making them relevant, most of the time insightful, to a reader who may never have thought to ask the question that seems to drive Chuck: How can I say something original about this? He may not ask himself that but I would dare any reader of his new book, Eating the Dinosaur, to try and work through why he would spend as much time in the opening salvo in this new collection of short essays to talk about the nature of interviews when he himself is an interviewer and one who is interviewed. It’s all very meta but Klosterman makes the subject fascinating to delve into and it’s like this throughout the rest of the book. He’s possessed like an animator who flips between sketches to see how to slightly change the art that came before it; it’s a continuation of what he’s always done before but it does show forward movement in the way he strives to keep evolving as an artist. read more »
Northern ExposureInterview by Will Tupper
Here’s a bit of hyperbole my friends tell me I’m famous for: “primarily” sci-fi novelist Jim Munroe is the Tyler Durden of modern, “gutter” culture.
Don’t buy it? Check the facts. This is the man who got picked up from the slush pile of Rupert Murdoch’s corporate publishing giant, HarperCollins. His first novel, the hilarious Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask, a kind-of Generation X Monkeywrench Gang with superheroes, was published by HC, and considered successful enough by the moneyed bigwigs to warrant a contract for a second book. read more »
Paging Doctor KickassInterview by Rob Hart
How good is Josh Bazell's debut novel, Beat the Reaper?
Last year I took my girlfriend to see Equus. During intermission, I pulled the book out of my bag to see how much I could read before the show started again. That's the measure of a great book - one where you spend your day looking for moments to get in a few more pages.
Beat the Reaper is the story of Peter Brown, a.k.a. Pietro Brwna, a reformed Mafia hitman looking for a little redemption through a medical residency in a Manhattan hospital. When a dying mobster threatens to out him, Brown finds the old adage true: just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in. read more »
You're digging it, right?Interview by Stephen Conley
James Ellroy has written a new book. After eight long years and a short story collection or two, Mr. Ellroy has finished his Underworld USA Trilogy with Blood's a Rover, a wild and unpredictable ride through the end of the 1960's and the end of our country's innocence for good.
James Ellroy began his career with such fantastic works in Noir as Brown's Requiem, Because the Night, and Killer on the Road. He hit it big with his LA Quartet: The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential, and White Jazz, all of which were international bestsellers. LA Confidential was made into a classic film starring Russel Crowe and Kevin Spacey. read more »
"The Novel of Bullshit is dead."Interview by Rob Hart
"The Novel of Bullshit is dead."
Those were the words of praise Thomas Pynchon heaped on Rudy Wurlitzer's debut novel, Nog, published in 1969.
As if that wasn't enough of an endorsement, a few weeks ago I got a copy in the mail. After scanning the back, I had to read the synopsis out loud to my girlfriend: Nog tells the tale of a man adrift in the American West, armed with nothing more than his own three pencil-thin memories and an octopus in a bathysphere.
I can't remember the last time I've read a synopsis that good, so beautiful in its simplicity.
The book didn't disappoint. Wurlitzer's prose meanders wildly but remains imminently readable. It’s a fascinating narrative that challenges your preconceived ideas on how a story can be built.
read more »
Weathering The StormInterview by Dennis Widmyer
Author. Surfer. Skier. Survivor. Norman Ollestad has done quite a lot in his life already. On February 19, 1979, he was 11-years-old, traveling from Santa Monica airport into Big Bear to retrieve a skiing trophy he had won the day before. Along for the ride were his father, his father's girlfriend, Sandra, and the pilot of the small, chartered Cessna.
About fifteen minutes into the flight, they were caught up in a blizzard and the plane crashed into Ontario Peak mountain and Norman's father and the pilot were instantly killed. Norman and Sandra survived, but she had a broken arm and a severe head injury. Cut off from radar, and in the middle of a near white-out, little Norman had to lead them down to safety with Sandra, sometimes, literally on his back. The dangerous trek down the steep mountain lasted 9 hours, and when it was over, Sandra too, was dead. Frostbitten and barely able to walk, Norman was the only survivor of the tragedy. read more »