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Guests | May 15, 2013 1 comment
Fear was my gateway to becoming interested in stories. My nanny growing up, a Scottish expat named Jackie with a fox pelt of red hair and a manic... Continue »
Marjorie Kowalski ColeDescribe your latest project.
In Correcting the Landscape newspaperman Gus Traynor publishes an alternative weekly in Fairbanks, Alaska. Gus has an independent nature and a lust for community, but lacks the discipline to build a business. As he once said, "I won't be kept inside any building I don't want to be in."
His crew on the Mercury includes his sharp-tongued sister Noreen, an illegal immigrant from Ireland named Felix, and an Athabascan woman and single mother, Gayle. Fairbanks almost becomes a character in the novel as Gus explores the town's social stratifications, its mixed loyalties and its connection to the boreal forest that surrounds them. A longtime bachelor, he is caught off-guard by the self-possessed Gayle. Their friendship opens his eyes to another side of Fairbanks. Editorial decisions cause ad sales to drop off and the newspaper tips toward insolvency, even while Gus's personal investment in this community deepens.
A body found in the river forces change for both of them. With his friend, Tad, a self-serving land developer, Gus decides to risk his reputation and most precious friendships one more time.
Writers are better liars than other people: true or false?
In order to capture and hold an audience, writers emphasize selected details, ask you to imagine you're in Verona or Venice, invite you to indulge in "the willing suspension of disbelief." But for out-and-out deception, surely the laurel goes to such masters as trompe l'oeil painters, photographers who enhance portraits, town boosters, certain politicians and religious personalities, and warmongers.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
What is your favorite literary first line?
What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
Why do you write?
Talk about your vision of the ideal life.
Aside from other writers, name some artists from whom you draw inspiration and talk a little about their work.
I am also inspired by homegrown music like the blues, Fats Domino, John Prine, Pete Seeger, Leonard Cohen, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris. Songs that express our sexuality, our spirituality, and our politics get right inside me and make me feel like producing something, too.