Monday, September 12, 2011

Author Interviews: Something Old and Something New

For Christmas one year my uncle gave me On Being a Writer, a collection of author interviews done by the Writer's Digest people. I finally read it last month for OTS. Most of the interviews are quite old, but it’s kind of cool to hear from Truman Capote when he had barely started In Cold Blood, or from Vonnegut right after the success of Slaughterhouse Five, or from Lawrence and Lee ever because they seem like the most entertaining and well-matched duo in the history of writing. There are so many memorable quotes as well:

Marsha Norman: “To support myself as a playwright, I write movies, which is what most successful playwrights do to earn a living. When you have gained national success in the theater, it’s like being awarded a gold medal in the Olympics. If you’re a skater, you can look forward to a job with the Ice Capades. It’s the commercial version of the art.”

Hemingway, when asked about the rumor that he takes a pitcher of martinis to his writing room every morning: “Christ! Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes, and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he had his first one.”

Kurt Vonnegut: “I have always thought of myself as a novelist, not a science fiction writer, not a black humorist. Science fiction is a story with machines. There’s no reason it should be a separate category, except that people who don’t know anything about machines think it should be. They get embarrassed. They hope it’s not really literature.”

Ray Bradbury: “If you write a hundred short stories and they’re all bad, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You fail only if you stop writing.

I should have that last one embroidered on a pillow or something, with a border full of fires and aliens. 

If you like your interviews a little more recent, C.J. at The Last Word has been interviewing up a storm. Check out her fantastic talks with Christine Johnson (author of Claire de Lune and Nocturne and creator of awesome writing metaphors), Gretchen McNeil (author of Possess, which has the most beautifulcreepy cover and inspired the most awesomecreepy cupcake), and Rae Carson (author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, otherwise known as I Have Desperately Wanted This Book of Awesome Ever Since I Heard Advance Reviews of it Months Ago). Plus there are giveaways (enter by the end of today!) and sporks and llamas and cupcakes and other awesomeness.

There’s also an Arc giveaway of Under the Never Sky over at Jill Scribbles. Another stunning cover + a wasteland called the Death Shop + a relationship that is not omgloveatfirstsight? Yes, please.

So much to see and win and drool over! Go forth and enjoy!


  1. So cool to see those snippets of interviews. I especially loved Vonnegut's insights into SciFi. Good stuff, and great to see how things have changed.