Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Matthew Quick

From a Q & A with Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook:

GC: Your character, Pat Peoples, thinks his life is a movie produced by God, bound to end with a silver lining. What do you think of this very close connection, in fiction and your life, between the novel and the film? Have you found the silver lining?

MQ: When I decided to write full-time, after consulting with my wife for months, I quit a tenured position at a prestigious high school, sold my house, moved into my in-laws’ home, and wrote in their basement every day for three years. My parents thought I had gone mad. Some friends quietly disapproved. People kept asking what I was doing in the basement, and when I was going to get a ‘real’ job. And it was hard, because at times I wasn’t sure that I was doing anything productive at all. It’s a wild thing to write in your in-laws’ basement for three years, not knowing if you will ever publish. Two things gave me hope: my wife’s constant encouragement and—as stupid as it might sound—looking up at clouds during my daily sunset runs. Considering all I had sacrificed, all the work I had put into this process, the silver lining had to be coming, right? More than eighty agents rejected my pitch letter and sample chapters. Fifty more never even responded. The one referral I managed to finagle from a respected published writer went nowhere and ended in polite rejection. I was just about to give up; I was getting my C.V. together, soliciting letters of recommendation, and looking for a teaching gig when I got a call from Doug Stewart of Sterling Lord Literistic. And then the real-life silver lining began to manifest. The way things played out—especially given the title of the book—made me pause and reflect. I won’t suggest that it was some sort of divine plan, but maybe inevitability really does exist if you work hard and look at the world with the right eyes.
Read the complete Q & A.

Matthew Quick floated down the Peruvian Amazon and formed ‘The Bardbarians’ (a two-man literary circle), backpacked around Southern Africa, hiked to the bottom of a snowy Grand Canyon, soul-searched, and earned his Creative Writing M.F.A. through Goddard College.

Read an excerpt from The Silver Linings Playbook, and learn more about the novel and author at Matthew Quick website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Silver Linings Playbook.

--Marshal Zeringue