Friday, October 10, 2008

Michael Kimball

Michael Kimball's recently released Dear Everybody is the story of Jonathon Bender told through a series of his own suicide letters, as well as his mother's journal entries, his brother's narrative, and other media.

He talked to Jonathan Bergey at Keyhole Magazine. Their opening exchange:

Jonathan Bergey: How did you develop Dear Everybody from the initial idea to completion, from the concept of suicide letters to its final form, which ended up including not just the letters but interviews, newspaper clippings, journal entries, and a narrator?

Michael Kimball: It went through a few different, very distinct stages. The whole novel actually started as just one letter, which then morphed into about 100 letters. At that point I actually thought I just had a longish short story, something like that, and that the thing was done. A few months later it happened again—I wrote another 100 or so letters, and so I just had this bigger bunch of letters. But at that point it started to open up a bit. I added an introduction to it. I added the last will and testament, a couple other things. So there began to be this frame around it. And it was really after I sort of recognized the possibilities of the frame that other things started to open up. And then I got to the newspaper articles, the encyclopedia entries, the psychological evaluations, all the weather reports, year book quotes, all that other stuff.
Read--or listen to--the complete interview.

Read an excerpt from Dear Everybody, and learn more about the book and author at Michael Kimball's website and blog.

Michael Kimball's first two novels are The Way the Family Got Away (2000) and How Much of Us There Was.

The Page 99 Test: Dear Everybody.

--Marshal Zeringue