Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tess Callahan

From a Q & A with Tess Callahan about her new novel, April and Oliver:

How has your upbringing colored your writing?

My parents were (and mother still is) remarkably kindhearted, and raised us to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, which is essentially the task of a fiction writer. We were a working class family who budgeted to make the mortgage each month and never missed mass on Sunday. The youngest, I spent a good deal of my childhood beneath a drape of forsythia in our yard where I dreamed up many rooms and even a barn with horses. I was never bored. From an early age, writing became a tool I used to navigate my way through life, both through journal keeping and story writing. As with any household, there was occasional turbulence, but it all seemed very normal to me. All in all, I am fortunate to have had a more stable and loving upbringing than most of my characters.

How much of the book is autobiographical? Where do your characters come from?

I once heard Milan Kundera say in an interview that his characters start where he leaves off. That feels right to me. You could say that each of my characters is an unmanifested aspect of my personality, a particular trait taken to an extreme. They each represent someone I might have become, but didn’t. Oliver is probably the most like me in that I often feel...[read on]
Visit Tess Callahan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue