Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Brandi Lynn Ryder

From a Q & A with Brandi Lynn Ryder about her new novel, In Malice, Quite Close:

Like your character Karen Miller, you dreamed of being a writer since childhood. What other traits of Karen Miller/Gisèle Mourault do you see in yourself?

I'm often asked if my characters and stories are autobiographical. Given the nature of some of my characters, I hesitate to go down that particular rabbit hole! I will say that I can relate very much to Gisèle's search for identity. She is as trapped in the role of Karen Miller as she later is as Gisèle Mourault. She moves from the dysfunction of her family to being Tristan's prized objet d'art. While my circumstances were certainly different, I was something of a chameleon as a teenager; I'd slip into various guises to suit my surroundings. Eventually, I was able to pinpoint this as a fear of self-revelation, a need to establish "identity" through the affirmation of others. Like Gisèle, my redemption was art. In it, I found honesty and authenticity to be the only signposts—pivotal to any true sense of self or deep relationship to others. Throughout the novel we see Gisèle only as she is defined by those around her, which is why she's given no point of view in the novel. But I think she was on the brink of the self-definition she sought in her art, that she would have continued down this path and ultimately succeeded. By the end, the truth has become something for which she's willing to face great risk and sacrifice.

You took your novel's title from a Rimbaud poem that also serves as the book's epigraph. How and why did you choose it?

I love the language and have long admired the emotional charge of Rimbaud's work. There is a lot of courage in his poetry, a raw honesty. In "First Evening," one finds an unabashedly objectifying seduction scene. There is a clear disparity between the speaker and the young woman, the object of his desire: probably in age, certainly in power and experience. He chronicles the effects of his actions on her as one might...[read on]
Visit Brandi Lynn Ryder's website.

--Marshal Zeringue