Thursday, August 22, 2013

Karen Brown

Karen Brown is the author of Little Sinners and Other Stories, which was named a Best Book of 2012 by Publishers Weekly, and Pins and Needles: Stories, which was the recipient of AWP’s Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction. Her new novel is The Longings of Wayward Girls.

From Brown's Q & A with Sara Dobie Bauer:

Who is your biggest literary influence?

I think my influences change all the time—I’ll read something that really resonates with me for whatever reason, and some sense of it always reverberates in my work. But my first biggest literary influence was J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories. I read it in Junior High, and was drawn to Salinger’s characters and settings, to the way the stories all feel very large, as if we know more about the characters than he is actually telling. But I was most intrigued by his tone—often darkly funny. Later in college, a professor read us “The Laughing Man” from Nine Stories, and I remembered the book and read the stories again. It is probably the book I’ve reread the most, and each time it is a different experience.

What are you most afraid of?

A fear I’ve long-held, that I’ve never overcome is that of being lost. I’m so leery that I don’t even trust the GPS. I have to map out new routes, and any change in the plan—a detour, a roadblock—makes my heart race and my palms damp. I have vivid memories of my mother, cigarette in hand, at the wheel of our station wagon. All six of us children are loaded in the back, our luggage is tied to the roof, and she is in a panic, trying to negotiate the interstate on the way to the beach. I’ve heard, too, that my grandfather had zero sense of direction. I like to blame it all on...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Karen Brown's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Writers Read: Karen Brown.

The Page 69 Test: The Longings of Wayward Girls.

--Marshal Zeringue