Friday, May 16, 2014

Moira Crone

Moira Crone is the author of several novels and story collections including What Gets Into Us and A Period of Confinement; her works have appeared in Oxford American, The New Yorker, Image, Mademoiselle, and over forty other journals and twelve anthologies. She has won prizes for her stories and novellas, and in 2009 she was given the Robert Penn Warren Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers for the entire body of her work.

Her latest novel is The Not Yet.

From Crone's Q & A with Tom Andes at Bookslut:

Your new novel is a work of science fiction, and it had its own remarkable genesis. I was wondering if you could talk about how The Not Yet came to be and what caused you to switch genres.

I had a dream in the late 1990s. A couple was sitting at a table at Le Bon Temps Roulé, a bar on Magazine Street in New Orleans. A young man was talking to a woman, and a voice came to me and said, "She's 200 years old." I thought, What is this world? I wrote into it. I didn't know where it was going. The thing I liked about it was that the world you're writing about becomes a character, and it increases the interest in the story because the reader's not only finding out about what's happening, but she's also finding out about a newly conceived set of relationships and historical conditions. Writing speculative fiction is like having one of those crayons that has three or four different points, all in one barrel. Readers are interested in the language, as they would be normally; they're interested in the characters. But they're also interested in the environment and the social and emotional attitudes people have, which are new. People wrote me letters after I published part of it in the New Orleans Review. That was unusual, to get fan letters about a story in a literary journal. The editor asked me to serialize the book. I felt insecure because I didn't know where I was going; I hadn't thought of a plot because I'd spent so much time trying to build the world, so I stopped. I went back to my normal realistic writing, and I did another book of stories, What Gets Into Us, that would eventually come out in 2006. Then I thought I would see if I could finish this other book. I came up with a plot, and I applied for and got an ATLAS grant, for Louisiana artists. The grant period began the week of Katrina, September 1, 2005, so that year, I didn't have to teach. They were very kind to take a chance on this unusual speculative novel, unlike what I had done before.

How much of the novel had you written by that point?

I had submitted eighty pages for the grant. But I had written half of it, if not more. At that time, the novel began, "In my twenty-second year, I was called home to the ruins of New Orleans." The whole description of Malcolm's trip, the watery vision of Tchoupitoulas Canal, all the imagination of the city underwater and how you would navigate it in a boat, where the landmarks would be, all that had been written before Katrina. It was very freaky. We were taking our daughter to college in the Northeast, and we ended up renting a hotel room in New York the day the storm happened. The next day, when the flood came, we went to a Kinko's because we didn't have our computers. We looked online, and we saw the Tulane campus was underwater. That's a block from our house. We were really panicky because...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Moira Crone's website and the Facebook page for The Not Yet.

Writers Read: Moira Crone.

My Book, The Movie: The Not Yet.

--Marshal Zeringue