Marie Howe's What the Living Do
I could go on and on. And, in the completely biased category, I am the editor of an imprint called PUSH, which has some amazing books that I am very very proud to be acquainted with (for a full list, check out www.thisispush.com).
What are some of your favorite films, and what makes them unforgettable to you?
Rear Window is my all-time favorite. It's just a perfectly plotted, perfectly executed movie. And I saw Moulin Rouge five times in the theater because it was so full of wonder. Other favorites include Rushmore, Monsoon Wedding, Raising Victor Vargas, Lost in Translation (an instant favorite), and pretty much any teen movie by John Hughes, especially Some Kind of Wonderful.
What types of music do you like? Is there any particular kind you like to listen to when you're writing?
The book is dedicated to a character in a Patty Griffin song, so that's definitely an influence. It's a lot of the reason the book was written. Picking favorite singers/songwriters/albums/songs is harder than picking a favorite book. So I'll just say that if you don't listen to Patty Griffin, Dar Williams, Beth Orton, Aimee Mann, the Postal Service, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, Nanci Griffith, the Indigo Girls, Jeff Buckley, Fountains of Wayne, Ben Folds, Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, Elbow, Liz Phair, Rufus Wainwright, Oasis.... I could go on and on. At this moment, I'm obsessed with the new Dashboard Confessional.
If you had a book club, what would it be reading -- and why?
I do have a book club, and we read teen books. Some of the favorites have been Virginia Euwer Wolff's True Believer, An Na's A Step from Heaven, E. R. Frank's Life Is Funny, Alice Childress's A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich, and Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
What are your favorite kinds of books to give -- and get -- as gifts?
Do you have any special writing rituals? For example, what do you have on your desk when you're writing?
I have my computer on my desk, and that just about does it for me. And usually there's music playing (see above).
What are you working on now?
My next book, The Realm of Possibility, comes out next August from the nice folks at Knopf.
Many writers in the Discover program are hardly "overnight success" stories. How long did it take for you to get where you are today? Any rejection-slip horror stories or inspirational anecdotes?
I'm a very lucky boy. This book just got carried into the right hands. So no horror stories. And hopefully there won't be any in the future.
If you could choose one new writer to be "discovered," who would it be -- and why?
Billy Merrell! Billy Merrell! Billy Merrell! His book, Talking in the Dark, is pretty much everything I look for as an editor. It's beautiful. It's meaningful. It's absorbing. He's only 21, but he's written a poetry memoir that really conveys the way life is lived -- both the bigger issues and the smaller moments, and how the former unfold in the form of the latter. I can't recommend it enough.
What tips or advice do you have for writers still looking to be discovered?
Don't write to be published. Write because it's something you want (or have) to write.
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