Geoffrey Becker’s book of stories Black Elvis won the 2008 Flannery O’Connor Prize for Fiction and was published by the University of Georgia Press in the fall of 2009. He is the author of Dangerous Men, a short story collection that won the Drue Heinz Prize, and Bluestown, a novel. His other awards and honors include an NEA fellowship, selection for The Best American Short Stories anthology, the Nelson Algren Award from the Chicago Tribune, and the Parthenon Prize. He teaches writing at Towson University in Maryland, where he also directs the graduate program in professional writing.
From a Q & A about his new novel, Hot Springs:
Three of the main characters in Hot Springs are two women and a little girl. How did you approach writing from a woman’s point of view, especially about potentially cliché issues such as motherhood and mother-daughter relationships?--Marshal Zeringue
There is also a male protagonist, Landis, but I guess it’s true that he’s outnumbered. I approached point of view in this story the way I always do, which is to try to imagine what it would be like to be a particular person and go from there. I’ve never worried a lot about who that person is—male, female, young, old. I just try to do my best, to believe in the material, to put as much of myself in there as I can. Yes, men and women are different, but I think we have more in common than we do separating us. I don’t believe in clichéd situations, only in clichéd writing.
You’ve described Hot Springs as “part road trip novel” and throughout the work place and setting feel almost as important as the plot and the characters. How do you choose the settings for your work?
It’s easier to write convincingly about a place if you have some firsthand knowledge of it. I’ve lived in Colorado and the Southwest. Elephant Butte is a volcanic rock formation, not far from Truth or Consequences. The first time I saw it from the highway, it seemed to me somehow...[read on]