Friday, August 8, 2008

Anthony Neil Smith

For The Rap Sheet, Jim Winter interviewed Anthony Neil Smith, author of the recently released Yellow Medicine.

Part of the interview:

JW: Did you have the story in mind before moving from Mississippi to Minnesota? Or did it come to you after you moved there?

ANS: I didn’t plan on writing about Minnesota quite yet. Had no idea how long I would be here (but it’s three years now), but now I’ve been bumped up to director of the Creative Writing Program [at Southwest Minnesota State University], and I bought a house, and I married a Minnesota girl, so ...

Anyway, when I first moved here, I rented a place a lot like Billy’s in the novel. It was always damp, mold growing on everything, and then there was an infestation of bugs. This was in Yellow Medicine County, about a half-hour from work. And it just seemed a good title. It had some weird appeal to it. So what I had hoped to do was write a “fast and dirty” cop novel. But it turned into more than that. I think The Shield was a big influence, but I also am a big fan of the “exile in America” idea--take a disgraced cop from Mississippi and drop him in Minnesota and see what happens. Kind of the way I felt a little, as well. And I wanted to play up the ugliness, too, in addition to the weird beauty of the prairie. They go hand in hand.

So there would’ve been no Yellow Medicine or Billy Lafitte without those experiences I had during my first few months in Minnesota. And then I made the rest of that shit up.
Read the complete Q & A.

Learn more about Yellow Medicine and its author at Anthony Neil Smith's website and his MySpace page.

Anthony Neil Smith is also the editor of Plots With Guns and the author of Pyschosomatic and The Drummer.

"My Book, The Movie" -- Pyschosomatic.

The Page 69 Test: Yellow Medicine.

--Marshal Zeringue