Monday, April 20, 2009

Michael Marshall

From Ali Karim's interview with Michael Marshall, at The Rap Sheet, about Marshall's novel Bad Things and related subjects:

Ali Karim: This novel, Bad Things, arrived somewhat mysteriously. Can you tell us a little about its genesis?

Michael Marshall: Bad Things arrived the way most of my books do: with the sudden delivery into my head (from I know not where) of a couple of key scenes, some characters, and an underlying idea. One of those harbinger scenes was the Prologue. At the point where I wrote it down, I had only a vague idea of the events that had led up to it, and what would unfold as a result. I prefer working this way, as it means the books are almost as much of a voyage of discovery for me as for the reader. Though it can mean you spend some long periods tangled in the woods ...

AK: As a parent, I found it hard to read your story in places, because it features, at its heart, the loss of a child. You’re a family man yourself. Tell me what the writing process was like for you.

MM: As much as that part of the novel is about losing someone, it’s about gaining other things: gaining perspective, the will to go on, an understanding of the forces that work in the background of our lives and minds, structuring our existences. You can’t go through life protecting yourself from all harm--that way neurosis lies, as it does for one of the characters in the novel. The truth is there are Bad Things out there in everyone’s lives, waiting for us, lurking in the shadows. The best you can do is try to understand and withstand them, using the human spirit, the courage and support of friends--and a little humor--to bring light into the dark. So while the process of writing Bad Things was sometimes like ploughing through the darker end of the mind’s forests, there was always that glow at the end to head toward.
Read the complete Q & A.

--Marshal Zeringue