Monday, November 22, 2010

Jack Todd

Jack Todd's new novel is Come Again No More.

From a Q & A about his novel, Sun Going Down:

Any sweeping novel about the American West is bound to be compared to Lonesome Dove. How do you feel about Sun Going Down being compared to McMurtry's epic novel?

Obviously, I'm gratified and a little embarrassed to find Sun Going Down compared with an American classic such as Lonesome Dove. At the same time, I should point out that they are very different books. Both are sweeping tales set partially or entirely in the Old West but apart from that, I think, the similarities really aren't there. I had read Lonesome Dove when it first came out years ago but didn't remember much about it. I have since re-read it and read Comanche Moon and I might have done some things differently if I had read these books while I was writing Sun Going Down, which was much more influenced by Mark Twain, Cormac McCarthy, and the Nebraska writer Mari Sandoz.

You've managed to tell the story of four generations of one family in under 400 pages, yet the novel doesn't feel rushed or hurried. How did you edit yourself and decide to move on to the next plot or storyline? Given the scope of the novel, did you outline the story prior to writing the book? Did your research or writing process evolve at all while working on Sun Going Down?

The greatest difficulty in writing this book was to get so much story between two covers. The first draft was 900 pages long in manuscript form; it was then cut by a third and then cut to half that length before some 120 pages were restored before the final version. I didn't really do an outline; I was following the story of the family as handed down in diaries and memoirs, so the outline was there from the beginning. In the original plan, however, the Mississippi and Big Sioux sections took up...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue