Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Next Big Thing

I was tagged on FB by Mary-Sherman Willis, whose book Graffiti Calculus will be out in November!! 

What is the title of your book?
Growing Big

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The book traces two journeys, a literal one from marriage and children to divorce and children, and a more personal or thematic one that explores spirituality and individuality in the context of human relationships.

What genre does the book fall under?

Where did the idea for the book come from?
When I started writing in earnest when my children were little, these poems  just came pouring out, with the help of poetry classes at The Loft in Minneapolis. Whenever I had the energy, I got a can of Coke and a bag of potato chips and sat down at my diningroom table during naptime to write. In my 20s, I guess I was really testing all the ideas I'd received and finding my own philosophy. That, and the experience of having children just blew me away. It was--and is-- like nothing else in my life. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the book?
I think it took about 4 - 5 years for the first draft, which has undergone many changes since then: additions, alterations, reorderings.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Really, the ups and downs of life with children.  I was raised Catholic and had gravitated to a more Protestant religious life then, but I was also a misfit there and found most of my joy not in a sanctuary but in the park or camping with my kids.  So I started to tell some of my stories.  Also, I would be remiss not to mention Deborah Keenan, writing teacher and friend, whose steady encouragement with these early poems made me keep writing.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The publisher is North Star Press, out of St. Cloud, MN. They are a 3rd generation family-run business that publishes around 60 books a year.  They run the business out of the family farm, so I signed the contract with a cat or two on my lap, looking out the window at the fields layered with snow.

What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?
Not sure how to answer this question!  I do think many female poets explore family life: Deborah Keenan, for sure.  I owe much of my commitment to sound and tension to Sylvia Plath, whose poems I continue to return to because they are so hard-edged.

What actors would you choose to play the characters in your book?
I'd have Jennifer Garner play me--and I'd have my kids play themselves! 

What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?
Many of the poems begin with images from my life as a church-going person: characters from the bible such as Joseph and Moses' mother, ideas like heaven.  It's part of my life and I find the material rich on many levels.

Thanks for the opportunity to dilate a little about this book. In return I am tagging poets Kirsten Dierking and Kathy Weihe.