BEA 2006 Part 1 (BSS #42)

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Guests: Carolyn Kellogg, Steve Saladino, Megan Sullivan, Amanda Darling, Kassia Kroszer, Kirk Biglione, Ron Hogan, Brian Murray, Michelle Wildgen, Mike Webster, Joseph Wortenva, Laurel Snyder and Delia Falconer.

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Believing he may have hit the worst point in his life.

Subjects Discussed: Dubious podcasting panels, marketing terminology, fisting, Tyler Cowen’s essay, bookstore websites, the “hit or miss” quality of BEA panels, whether or not “the long tail” is a great conspiracy theory, “the future is aluminum,” the relevancy of Wired, death, promoting a book without a publishing deal, the Tin House imprint’s break with Bloomsbury, playing chess vs. promoting books, a brief moment involving a Sousaphone, how to create exuberance without Richard Nash, the difficulties of shopping around a literary anthology, and shopping an Australian novel around in New York.

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Categories: Fiction

Carrie A.A. Frye & Yannick Murphy (BSS #41)

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Authors: Carrie A.A. Frye and Yannick Murphy

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Missing, last seen packing himself into a suitcase at Dulles.

Subjects Discussed: To Kill a Mockingbird, Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, Here They Come as autobiography, bending spoons with your mind, sleepless nights of inspiration, the similarities between surrealism and realism, hot dog vendors, points of reference as a coping mechanism, writing a New York-based novel in California, the A&P as a reflection of socioeconomic values, working with Eli Horowitz.

[INTERVIEW NOTES: The interviews were all conducted by telephone.]

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Categories: Fiction

Harvey Pekar & Dean Haspiel (BSS #40)

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Authors: Dean Haspiel and Harvey Pekar

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Feeling old age, pining for an old flame named Virginia.

Subjects Discussed: How Haspiel hooked up with Pekar, the origin of the American Splendor movie, the origin of The Quitter, growing as a storyteller courtesy of “hieroglyphic rants,” paneling, DC Comics scripts vs. Pekar scripts, visual reference and the advantages of the Internet, the inside scoop on Jonathan AmesThe Alcoholic, the sudden legitimacy of comics, Pekar meeting Michael Malice, what makes Malice’s tale a “Pekar story,” polar opposites, conflicting ideologies within Pekar’s narratives, how Pekar challenged Malice’s language, boxy layouts, collaborating with illustrators, episodic stories vs. long narratives, the stigma against quotidian narratives, narrative adjustments in the American Splendor movie, the portrayal of pain in Our Cancer Year vs. the American Splendor movie, appearing on David Letterman and being mocked, the reasons behind Pekar’s prolificity, jazz criticism, on the many names Pekar granted himself during the American Splendor run and some of the factors that determine which artists collaborate with Pekar.

[INTERVIEW NOTES: The interview with Mr. Haspiel was conducted by telephone.]

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Categories: Fiction, People

The May Queen (BSS #39)

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[PRODUCER’S NOTE: Every effort has been made to preserve and process the audio. But keep in mind that the group was in a noisy bar and there were considerable microphones involved, which all picked up some background noise. So for those who protest the din, we note that the ambience clears out a little about twenty minutes into the podcast.]

Authors: Nicki Richesin, Meghan Daum, Erin Ergenbright, Michelle Richmond, Kimberley Askew and Heather Juergensen

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Strangely libidinous after his return from the desert.

Subjects Discussed: The strange woman on the May Queen cover, epigraphs, magazine editors hostile towards women’s issues, the “selfishness” of opting against the biological clock, mothers vs. non-mothers, Diane Keaton, Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct 2, Dolly Parton, Searching for Debra Winger, plastic surgery, agism, self-worth and body image, field trips to Planned Parenthood, sex within marriage, finding one’s place via environment, San Francisco vs. Los Angeles, the New York Times Style section, the advantages of “zero birthdays,” achievements when living in one’s thirties, the infamous “grups” article, urban vs. rural lifestyles, Mom Jeans, the divide and similarities between twentysomethings and thirtysomethings, finding a life path, women’s anthologies, the variance of opinions on aging, the chick lit controversy, the In Her Shoes film adaptation, Jhumpa Lahiri, the danger of pink covers, taking Curtis Sittenfeld to task, cognitive taxonomy, “chick” labels and the publishing industry, Marilynne Robinson, the lack of women film directors, women and work, the hesitancy to write about work, the gender income divide and how the essays were selected.

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Categories: People

Gina Frangello & Kassia Kroszer (BSS #38)

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Authors: Kassia Kroszer and Gina Frangello

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Still in the desert, deferring to Mr. Bonasera.

Subjects Discussed: Margaret Atwood, violence, Freud’s “Dora” study, Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres, psychoanalytical theories in the 90s, Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, unreliable narrators, epigraphs, the presence of current events, hysteria, Ayn Rand, the influence of Kathy Acker, the “viciousness” of the sexuality, the influence of contemporary music, Nine Inch Nails, writing about Chicago in Amsterdam, shopping the book around, and chick lit vs. edgy fiction.

[INTERVIEW NOTES: The interviews were all conducted by telephone.]

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Categories: Fiction

Sarah Waters (BSS #37)

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[NOTE: The Bat Segundo crew is not responsible for the wretched music (in addition to a cleaner that we processed out in part) playing in the background during the interview. We apologize to our listeners for this. But we had to improvise to talk with Ms. Waters as long as possible.]

Author: Sarah Waters

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Wandering the Mojave Desert with Jorge.

Subjects Discussed: Waters’ novels as romps, Graham Greene, imagery, the influence of 1940s novels upon The Night Watch, on ventriloquizing voices, thighs as literary imagery and a pleasant thing to think about, watches and clocks, on devising the structure, the disadvantages of character development in a backwards structure, Tracy Chevalier’s Washington Post review, on maintaining the exuberance from the Victorian novels, food, why the characters are attracted to Helen, nature vs. nurture in relation to World War II, on being pigeonholed as a lesbian writer, on maintaining respect for those who lived during World War II, the role of research in writing The Night Watch, on pageturner plots, and writing without an outline.

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Categories: Fiction

Jeffrey Ford & Gwenda Bond (BSS #36)

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Authors: Gwenda Bond and Jeffrey Ford (LBC nominee, Spring 2006)

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Absent, abstaining from Bolshevik operations.

Subjects Discussed: On writing a book with “everything but the kitchen sink,” baroque vs. simple language, the influence of Hammett, Glen David Gold’s Carter Beats the Devil, Rex Stout, creative serendipity, eugenics, on “playing it safe” in light of the extraordinary research unearthed, the “literary” inspiration behind the character names, Rupert Thomson, auctorial voice, on being a student of John Gardner, confrontational vs. direct prose, Sturgeon’s law, Harlan Ellison, on young writers drawing attention to themselves, Chuck Palahniuk, beleaguered college students, Dave Itzkoff’s “reading list,” the influence of the New York Times Books Review, The Girl in the Glass being pigeonholed as a young adult novel, reviewers overanalyzing the word “mawkish,” and genre classification.

[INTERVIEW NOTES: The interviews were all conducted by telephone.]

(To listen to our second interview with Jeffrey Ford, go here.)

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Categories: Fiction

Sheila Heti & Mark Sarvas (BSS #35)

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Authors: Mark Sarvas and Sheila Heti (LBC nominee, Spring 2006)

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Absent, abstaining from Bolshevik operations.

Subjects Discussed: Perspectives, on writing an interior novel, research vs. devising Ticknor’s character, passive protagonists, environmental details, ambiguity, anxiety, on digressing from the historical record, masking fears, Ticknor’s ass fetish, writing an “epic” short novel and Canadian writers.

[INTERVIEW NOTES: The interviews were all conducted by telephone.]

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Categories: Fiction