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Where y'at? October 14, 2020

The long and short of it:

Interview with Sarah Jilek, author of Saint Catastrophe

What is your writing Kryptonite? Any time I try to write about what a potential audience would like instead of what I’m fascinated by, I end up hating it. Similarly, whenever I ask myself too many questions about what I’m writing instead of just doing the work, it comes out bad.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? My spirit animal (especially my writing spirit animal) is a filthy raccoon scraping the congealed grease off of a dumpster pizza box. The raccoon can clean itself up and put on makeup and a nice turtleneck, but we all know what it really is.
What did you edit out of this book? There was a scene where Beth had a sexual fantasy about Saddam Hussein that I trimmed down a bit—he’s still mentioned in the book, but things don’t get quite so graphic. I actually didn’t cut much stuff at all; in fact, I added a few scenes and expanded on others in the editing process.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? Oh, man. I love secrets. Everything is a secret. The meaning of people’s names; the little Catholic symbols everywhere; even the titles of certain scenes have hidden meanings. I love a book that can be absorbed at face value but that also rewards you for paying close attention.
What is your favorite childhood book? I absolutely devoured The Lord of the Rings when I was in middle school. Another one I loved was The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine. It’s a criminally underrated book about a girl who saves her sister and the kingdom from a plague. I still read it every now and then.
Do you Google yourself? Yes—anyone who says they don’t is a liar.
If you had to give up either snacks, drinks, or music during writing sessions which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to? Depends on the day, but I find music to be a bit distracting unless it’s Gregorian chant or something equally hypnotic.
Which is your favorite season to write in? Winter, after the holidays. No one’s doing anything fun so there’s no FOMO, and no reason to feel guilty about not going outside, because the weather’s awful.
If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose? That’s a hard question. Maybe an old medieval convent or village in Europe or something like that. A spooky place with a lot of history, like the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic, a medieval chapel decorated with like 50,000 bones or something.
Do you like audiobooks, physical books, or e-books better? I like physical books, but I think audiobooks are having an interesting moment, especially (I’m not biased at all) Blanket Fort Radio Theater’s audiobooks: https://news.wsiu.org/programs/blanket-fort-radio-theater#stream/0
What is your preferred font to write in? Times New Roman is obviously standard, but sometimes I’ll switch it up with a random cursive font or write in 72-point font for awhile if I feel stuck.
What is the funniest typo you’ve ever written? Once, in a short story, I wrote “Lacy Macbeth” instead of “Lady Macbeth.” And thus, my stripper name was born.
What are two of your favorite book covers (besides your own) of all time? I love the cover of Alissa Nutting’s Tampa—the one with the buttonhole that looks like a vagina. It’s so simple and striking. I love a book cover that you feel compelled to hide from other people because if they see it, they’ll think you’re some kind of weirdo.
What is your favorite word? Hmm… I like pretty words like “ethereal” and “iridescent,” but I also like ugly words like “ooze” and “seep.” It’s all about balance.
Order Saint Catastrophe by Sarah Jilek today
Audio version of one of our classic titles is out now!
Get the Audio Version
ARC Readers needed for Tallapoosa
A remarkable young couple evolves amid the chaos of the early civil rights movement and the Vietnam Era. Against the strong objections of her wealthy parents, twenty-two-year-old Sarah Wentworth leaves Boston for a new home among black farming families in the Deep South. Smitten from the beginning, Emmett, lacking formal schooling but filled with natural wisdom, risks his reputation to support Sarah’s work with the Sharecroppers Union. The resilient lovers combat the rampage of cross burnings and vigilantes to help defend the rights of the local black workers and to build their own family. An inspiring historical novel, Tallapoosa portrays powerful personal journeys of triumphs and tragedies that offer keen insight into the battles still being fought today.
Request an ARC

In need of a new read? 
Visit The Book Factory Store.
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Attend an Event with T.M. Brown
T.M. Brown has multiple author events in Georgia this month!
  • October 15, 6:30-8 p.m. at Hometown Novel Nights-Mystery Novel Night, Newnan Carnegie Library, Newnan,GA (virtual event)
  • October 17, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Sharpsburg Library Book Sale in Sharpsburg, GA
  • October 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Hancock Count Library Festival, Sparta, GA (Fundraiser - 25% of book sales go to library)
Learn More
In Case Y'all Missed It

The New Southern Fugitives
Contagion and Collectivism: Volume 3, Issue 23

“Contagion pertains to viral infections, but it also relates to how certain influences shape the world and our relationship to each other. And depending on our perspective, contagion might not be entirely negative.”

-D. W. McKinney, Issue 23 curator and TNSF Web Resident

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