May 21st, 2010

books

Interview: Sarah Kuhn

Attention, fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, X-Men, and other such things made of awesome: You should read this interview. I'm pleased to be wrapping up this year's Summer Blog Blast Tour chatting with Sarah Kuhn. After a decade of working as a journalist, mostly in the sci-fi entertainment field, Sarah has added "author" to her resume. Tune in now to learn more about the inspiration for Sarah's novel One Con Glory and her involvement with Alert Nerd Press.

One Con Glory was influenced by your love for comic books and cult TV shows, and your work as a reporter in the field of sci-fi entertainment. What have you found to be the biggest challenges facing you as a female reporter in a male-dominated field?

I actually don't think it's so male-dominated anymore! Or maybe it never was and the fangirl force has just become way more visible and vocal in recent years—either way, that's a pretty awesome development, no?

But certainly, when I got my start as a geek-centric journalist, I did feel more like an anomaly or a unicorn or whatever. I guess the biggest challenge was convincing some of my fellow journos that I was for real: yes, I know just as much about X-Men continuity as you do. Yes, I've watched every episode of the original Star Trek just as many times as you have. Yes, I am familiar with this whole "organic web-shooters" debate. Yes, yes, yes. Then again, that was probably only a "challenge" because I made it one in my mind, you know? I've hopefully learned to be a little less defensive about my nerd cred.

How long have you been a journalist?

Hmm, I guess it's been over a decade now? That makes me feel so old.

How and when did you decide to branch out into novel-writing? Tell me about publishing, and about Alert Nerd Press.

Alert Nerd Press is something Matt Springer has always wanted to launch as part of our group geek-blog, Alert Nerd. Basically, he wanted to create a small press dedicated to "geek lit" - fiction and essays aimed squarely at nerdly obsessives like us. So we started off with this little PDF 'zine, Grok, and that's morphed into a few book-like things.

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Visit Alert Nerd Press and their page for One Con Glory.

Check out all of the stop on today's SBBT.
fly, look up

Poetry Friday: The Brown Vest by Barbara Guest

A robin's nest being towed on the sidewalk.
Somewhere, a complement to his brown vest.
He is more lively than before.
In the future we must take him away from the sidewalk
and lend him the joy he expects.
Use earth colors, they build strong nests.
He combs his throat then locks the chapel
Of the goddess in his home.

- The Brown Vest by Barbara Guest

Listen to the author read her poem.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.
readergirlz, postergirlz

Hope: Melina Marchetta

Like our readergirlz May book pick, Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee, the novel Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta(1) explores the relationship between a long-absent father and his teenaged daughter. For this and many other reasons, the postergirlz named Looking for Alibrandi a recommended read for the month of May. After I informed Melina of this, we discussed this month's theme, hope. Here's what she had to say:

A couple of years ago a blogger wrote a one sentence review of my novel, On the Jellicoe Road. It was bleak indeed. Death, suicide, teen pregnancy, abandonment, depression and the list went on and on. It was pretty awful to see your work reduced to a list of bleakness. What I wanted her to mention was the hope. That it was a story about redemption, love, community, identity, humour and friendship.

Hope is what I try to offer in all my work. In Alibrandi, despite the losses Josie faces in the end, she refuses to be a pessimist because she believes in the goodness of the individual person. In Francesca, on the last page Frankie Spinelli goes to school with hope in her heart regardless of the uncertainty in her life. In Jellicoe, Taylor Markham ends up in a house by the river that was built to bring solace. In Finnikin the two main protagonists may have a different view of homeland, but they both journey thousands of miles to bring a sense of place to a dispirited people. In The Piper's Son, I used a simple gesture between three generations of men to convey that perhaps Tom Mackee and his family and friends are going to be okay.

Ending a story with hope isn’t easy. Not because there's not enough around, but because it can come across clichéd or super sweet or as if you're saying that life has a simple solution. But I try anyway because I would never leave the reader without a safe place to go. That's not to say that I believe it has to be the prerequisite for all storytelling, but I've made it the number one rule in mine.

~ Melina Marchetta

For similar ponderings, please check out Definitions of Hope, a series of hopeful musings from various authors.

(1) Looking for Alibrandi is an amazing book, and it's one of my favorite contemporary Australian novels. Read it (and Melina's other works) now.