Karen Russel's debut novel Swamplandia! releases in early 2011.
From her Publishers Weekly interview:
The setting of Swamplandia! will be familiar to readers of your story "Ava Wrestles the Alligator," which kicked off your lauded collection, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. What was the journey from short story to novel like?--Marshal Zeringue
These people have been with me for a Methuselah's age. The story itself went through so many revisions that, before I hit on the sensual relationship between the siblings, it was a very redneck comic piece. Even the story that appears in St. Lucy's is gutted from 70 pages. So the story just spilled out everywhere, and I realized I was writing a novel.
Did you find any benefits of long form as opposed to short?
With a story collection, there's this sadness to setting up these circus tents that you have to collapse before moving on to the next town. So it was really nice to put down stakes and live in the place for years. It feels like a weird eviction not to be there anymore.
From having a crappy job to the death of a mother, there's much that's relatable in Swamplandia! despite the fantastic setting. Were you conscious of balancing gee-whiz wonder with the more concrete?
I was trying to...[read on]