From Julianna Baggott's exchange with Benjamin Whitmer about his new novel, Cry Father:
I despise the pervasive myth of inspiration – the idea that an entire book can exist simply because of an accumulation of inspired ideas – but I don’t deny that inspiration exists. There are things that have no other explanation. Was there a singular moment of inspiration for this book?Visit Benjamin Whitmer's website.
Kind of. For me it was just looking at my children and being scared to death. Parenthood is always on my mind. I’m a single father, and it’s the most important thing in my life. Which doesn’t make me any better at it, of course, it just means I worry about it all the time. What could I have protected them from that I didn’t? What more could I have done for them? Where did I screw up? Parenthood is the best way to come face to face with your failures as a person. And fatherhood, in particular, is a great way to drive your head straight into all those tropes of masculinity that most of us’d probably be better off without. Cry Father came out of wrestling with those. I don’t think I learned anything from it, except maybe that I’m no good at writing positive examples, but that’s...[read on]