Most of the houses had lost their lights / In Conversation with John Metcalf – Published in The New Quarterly

TNQ 135 Front Cover

If you manage to get your hands on issue 135 of The New Quarterly, you’ll find my latest story in there, called Most of the houses had lost their lights. It is another very quirky piece of fiction about a wealthy grad student having a difficult time with their thesis, all while trying to decide between marrying the heiress to a corn syrup multinational or sailing around Italy.

No, that is a lie. I would never do that to you. Truly, this story is about regular Hardcastle haunts like drinking, floods, knife fights, and unseen dog/bear creatures terrorizing someone while they try to live in their truck. I think it is a pretty good one, and this is the one I mentioned that my editor John Metcalf claimed as his favourite from my story collection, Debris. This is another story that deals with working class folks who are set upon by various things, natural or otherwise, and the protagonist is a young lady who has to keep their marriage and their future afloat while her husband is removed from the picture for a while. As in an earlier story in Shenandoah, called Debris, the narrative is driven by a female character, which people seem to be curious about based on my other work. I hope that it rings true enough, and I actually spoke about it briefly in a blog interview with fellow writer Alix Hawley the other week.

It’s the third time I’ve had a story in TNQ, and Pamela Mulloy and the staff there continue to be personal heroes of mine. There is also a lengthy conversation between me and Metcalf, where he asks me a good deal about where my writing comes from, where I come from, and why I write the way I do. I rarely sit down and really consider my process unless someone asks me questions about the specifics of it, so I also don’t know how interesting that kind of thing is to readers and writers out there. But, there is a range of topics covered in this, and Metcalf sees things in there that I just don’t unless he asks me to unpack them, so I did enjoy talking about this. I hope some people get something out of our conversation, and that they also enjoy the actual images of Metcalf’s handwritten edits where he points out some of my more hilarious attempts at writing sentences. At least you might want to take a gander at those and laugh at me.

I just have the one more story on the way, called The Rope, to be published within a month or so in This Magazine, thanks to poetry & fiction editor Dani Couture (champion), and the editorial staff there. That is the last unpublished story in Debris and it will sneak in right before the book is out, so the timing of it was very fortunate.

Biblioasis is working out the details of where I will launch the book (late September by the looks of it), and I will post that as soon as it’s locked up for certain. It will be a good time, and I hope everybody comes by and tells me if the book does not suck. More to come.

Cheers everyone.


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