Thursday, May 2, 2013

Peter Rock

Peter Rock was born and raised in Salt Lake City. His most recent book is The Shelter Cycle, which concerns the end of the world in Montana in 1990, among other things.  His previous novel, My Abandonment, has won an Alex Award, the Utah Book Award, and been published in Germany, Turkey and France. He is also the author of the novels The Bewildered, The Ambidextrist, This Is the Place, and Carnival Wolves, and a story collection, The Unsettling.

From a Q & A at the author's website:

What does the title of The Shelter Cycle mean?

The church, like any organization, has its own language. Periods of time are often spoken of in terms of "cycles"—e.g. a recovery cycle, a cleaning-up cycle, a settling cycle. "The Shelter Cycle" is how they refer to the period of time between 1987-90, when the shelters were being built. The effects of that effort linger on, so it's possible that this shelter cycle continues to the present day. My book dramatizes the period of the shelters' construction, and also the continuation of that energy.

It would be wrong to conceive of the shelter cycle as a purely physical effort, however; survival happens on many planes. Through high-speed chants known as "decrees," the church aspired to change the world's vibration, to balance karma, and to change bad energy to good. It is not just that emotional turmoil that we feel is similar to physical cataclysm, it is the same. So preparing the shelters and practicing survival skills were running parallel to preparations that were far less visible.

How did real people become involved with your writing of this novel, and how did they change it?

About five years ago, when I was beginning to think about taking on this project, I realized that a young woman I knew—a student at Reed College, where I teach—had been a child in the church during the time of the shelter cycle. Her father had built a shelter for seventy people. She'd graduated and moved back to Montana, and she agreed to meet with me and tell me about that time. Through her generosity, I did over thirty hours of interviewers with ex-members and true believers; in some sense, these conversations confirmed that it was a fascinating topic and also showed me how complicated a project it would be.

The first thing I realized was that the people I was talking to were really...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Peter Rock's website.

The Page 69 Test: My Abandonment.

The Page 69 Test: The Shelter Cycle.

Writers Read: Peter Rock.

--Marshal Zeringue