Today Barry Wolverton is my guest. He’s crazy busy with a tour that’s running at the same time (be sure to check that one out too on the Book Nerds site)
Hi Barry, thanks for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. I’d like to start with a few ‘personal’ ones, if that’s okay. I promise not to be too intrusive. 🙂
Can you tell me what you prefer? Writing non-fiction, or fiction?
I prefer writing fiction. It’s what I prefer to read, and it’s more satisfying when I get it right. But part of the satisfaction of getting it right comes from realizing just how hard it is to get it right. I often hate writing fiction when I’m in the middle of doing it.
Given the chance who would you want to be Peter Pan, Hook, or one of the lost boys?
Probably one of the lost boys, although they all have goofy names. I see myself more in the supporting character role.
To extend on the previous question, would you rather go camping, or go all-inclusive on a resort where all luxury is a given?
Right now I would choose the luxury resort. I haven’t had a real vacation in years!
Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?
What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?
My mom’s sweet potato pie, and unfortunately I cannot give you the recipe because my mom passed away in 2010, and despite my best efforts, I can’t find any relative to whom she gave the recipe!
I might be able to help you there. I had a guest last year, Sallie Lundy-Frommer, and she gave me her recipe for Sweet Potato Pie. Click here to read it. Try it and tell me if it comes close to what you remember of your mom’s
That wasn’t too bad, was it? But it’s not why you’re here, so let’s talk shop.
What is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?
NEVERSINK is the book, and it answers the question: What would happen if you brought together a timid puffin, a literate walrus, a vagrant hummingbird, a pygmy owl with a Napoleon complex, and irresistibly delectable treats called smidgens? The result is a reluctant hero’s journey, like the Hobbit, with a little bit of Watership Down and a lot of the absurdity of Lewis Carroll.
For those that are now curious to the content, Barry allowed me to post an excerpt for you to read.
Lockley was looking up at a tree of indescribable size that seemed to grow from the bottom of the world to the top of the sky. From three colossal roots the tree branched out into the Past, the Present, and the Future. Lockley watched the seasons change as the red bird of Fall, the white bird of Winter, the blue bird of Spring, and the green bird of Summer migrated from one part of the tree to another. Thought and Memory flitted among the branches, as did Reason and Knowledge. In the Past, an owl, an auk, a raven, and a merlin perched in the tree. In the Present, only the owl, the raven, and merlin remained. And in the Future, the apes of the ground were climbing among the branches with the birds. Encircling the full girth of the tree was a serpent, gnawing at the roots, even as a great eagle launched attacks on it, clawing at the serpent’s eyes. Lockley was terrified, for he understood not what he saw.
Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
A little bit. I stumbled through several clumsy and wordy options before I read the Wallace Stevens poem, “Late Hymn from the Myrrh-Mountain” (where the epigraph of my book comes from), and the name Neversink popped out.
Do you ever feel the need to write anything other than kid stuff?
I just feel the need to write, not necessarily about kid stuff or adult stuff. I guess since I am presently under contract to write another middle-grade book, I feel compelled to work within certain parameters, but I don’t really want to write anything I myself wouldn’t want to read, at any age.
What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?
Not enough. I have a website and am on all the social media platforms, but with middle-grade books I think readers (kids), teachers, and librarians do most of the attention-getting. School visits and Skype visits are good, but so many authors are doing so much of that, I think there is some saturation in the market. I think I’m going to start sticking copies of the paperback under people’s windshield wipers at the Target parking lot.
Okay, now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
There is a scene in Neversink set at the Library of Scholars at Ocean’s End, the library started by the ancient walruses who invented writing. I was privileged enough to be admitted to the Library to research Neversink, which after all is transcribed from a true story. Like our Library of Congress, the walrus library is a non-lending library. The books stay put. Well, I must have slipped one of their legendary ice-texts into my backpack before leaving Ocean’s End, and once I returned to the hot and humid conditions of Memphis, it melted. It’s one thing to pay a hefty fine, it’s quite another when an ice-text melts and can’t be replaced or returned. Needless to say I am permanently Shunned from the Library of Scholars, and word has it they keep a picture of me on a wall and take turn jabbing it with their tusks.