Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tom Cooper

Tom Cooper’s work has recently appeared in Oxford American, Boulevard, Gulf Coast, Mid-American Review, Willow Springs, and dozens of other magazines and journals. He lives in New Orleans, where he writes and teaches.

Cooper's recently released first novel is The Marauders.

From the author's Q & A with Diane Colson for School Library Journal:

Thank you so much, Tom, for bringing these most singular characters to life. And the setting is so intimately portrayed, such as in this description near the beginning, “They were plunged in dark, moonlight banded across the water, the only sounds the insects and frogs singing in full chorus, the soft slap of waves against the hull.” Have you experienced this yourself?

Most of the book is the result of many revisions and edits. You’d probably think I was a caveman if you read some of my early drafts. Certainly you would think me delusional to be wasting a perfectly good piece of paper. On the other hand, I have a deep love of the Gulf and tried to preserve some bit of nature, a dying bit of nature, in prose. I’ve always admired most the authors who are craftspeople with their prose.

Young people may have heard about the BP oil spill of 2010, but The Marauders reveals how deeply the area was damaged. You show this without going into lengthy exposition on the accident itself, allowing the characters to describe their own experiences and observations. Did you do any research into the effects of the oil spill to construct these scenes?

I did a bunch of research. Books, movies, news articles, but mainly footwork. Many of my college students at the time were born and raised in bayou and they’d tell me many stories. But I myself have never been a shrimper, or trawler, as they call them here. I wouldn’t last 30 seconds. I’d end up in a hospital room, in traction.

Aside from talking with my students, I’ve made many local acquaintances who tell me stories everyday. The story explored in The Marauders is still going on. People signed ridiculous...[read on]
Visit Tom Cooper's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Marauders.

Writers Read: Tom Cooper.

The Page 69 Test: The Marauders.

--Marshal Zeringue