Sometimes, we at Falling Rock National Park like to step away from the medieval illuminated manuscript research that we are best known for and talk about what’s relevant now. Fortunately we have at least one friend who is at the forefront of what critics are calling The New Literature, Katie Chase.
Katie has had a number of her short stories published in legitimate publications (i.e. not blogs). Currently she is working on her first novel. She assures us that the novel-to-be is not a sequel to John Grisham’s The Firm, although I bet if you wanted to read it that way you’d be in for a few surprises.
I sat down with Katie to discuss politics, the environment, robots, and of course writing. Here’s what was said.
FR: You like to write stories about emotions. What is your favorite emotion?
KC: I do. Emotions are literary. Is discomfort an emotion? I used to be solely inspired to write about a situation if I thought to myself, That’s fucked up. So long as the emotions involved are conflicting, I like them.
FR: Which is harder to write: a car chase or a chase across the rooftops?
KC: Both would definitely be hard, as I’d have to learn the vocabulary to describe them. What’s that part on the roof that sticks up? What kind of parts fall off cars? But if I describe a rooftop chase, I could maybe take a minute to describe the pretty view from up there. A car chase would too quick-moving, too much about the dashboard. I wouldn’t want any pedestrians to get hurt, and they’d probably have to.
FR: How many books have you read?
KC: I’m almost always reading a book! To increase that number to its utmost impact, I hardly ever reread, because there are too many I still haven’t read. Times that over how ever many years it looks to you like I am.
FR: You look like you’re not a girl, not yet a woman.
KC: It’s that in-between place that makes for the best reading, so I have to make the most of it now. Once I’m old and hate everything, instead of just half of all things, I’ll probably only read and reread the classics.
FR: In a fair fight – bare fists and no cheating – could you take T.C. Boyle?
KC: What constitutes fair? Can he throw all his books at me?
FR: I’m picturing the two of you facing off in a sandy pit, surrounded by men smoking cigars and making wagers. No books.
KC: Since I’m not wearing sunglasses, I like to think I have the edge, but I bet all that cigar smoke would hinder me.
FR: Same question for Jodi Picoult.
KC: I could take her.
FR: Same question for James Franco.
KC: Muthafucka’s going DOWN.
FR: Your love of robots and fighting is well known. Who is your favorite Transformer?
KC: The chick.
FR: Do you wish there was a better developed love story in that cartoon?
KC: If it ended with a wedding, I would feel more like everyone got what he or she came for.
FR: If you wrote a novel specifically targeted to airport bookshops, what would the plot be?
KC: It would definitely have one. Actually, a variant of this question once lost me a job at a bookstore. I assumed people on planes would want to be recommended books that had short paragraphs, lots of dialogue and probably some crime, but I was wrong to make that assumption, according to the interviewing manager. Is this one of those trick questions? Still, it would probably start with murder and end with marriage.
FR: What celebrity autobiography would you most like to ghostwrite?
KC: I wouldn’t really want to. Unless James Franco asked for my help.
FR: The interview has gone really well so far. Thanks for your intelligent answers. Now I’m going to ask you something that implies you haven’t really achieved anything in your life.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
KC: Thank you for your intelligent questions! Excluding this one.
I could see myself subsisting on low-wage administrative jobs with no opportunity for advancement for decades. But I would prefer not to.