Monday, November 26, 2012

Author interview: A B Bard

Last week, we spotlighted the book, The Killer Poet's Guide to Immortality by A. B. Bard.  We are pleased to have him back with an interview. Welcome Mr. Bard!

Kari& Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?
A. B.: Writing came naturally to me as a child.  I wrote my first poem at age 8, and began stapling paper together to write chapter books while still in grade school. We're not talking professional grade; more like "Gimor, the Terrible Monster."  He really was a terrible monster, but it was a start.  Then in high school my creative writing teacher, Gladys LaFlamme Colburn, showed me real poetry, and I loved it both for the beauty and for the well-phrased ugliness.  It seemed only poets were speaking about what I was seeing and feeling.  Novels came later; poetry is like classical training for a musician; once you've got it, you can play anything. 
Kari& Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?
A. B.: To quote Yeats:

A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till.

- The Circus Animals' Desertion

That's for THE KILLER POET'S GUIDE TO IMMORTALITY by "AB Bard", my pseudonym.  My first two novels, which were historical novels - obviously, history was the inspiration.  For JUST DECEITS, the beginning came when I stumbled across a footnote in a serious biography of Chief Justice John Marshall, describing a scandalous trial he'd defended as a young lawyer, and I wondered what he was like before he was famous.  For BONES BENEATH OUR FEET, it was the lure of Puget Sound history - the history of my home, and then uncovering the injustice of our treatment of Chief Leschi, and exploring the paradox that we've named an entire Seattle neighborhood for a man we hung for a supposed murder.  
Kari& Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?
A. B.: A comic mystery set in Seattle.  And my first purely poetry collection.  I say it this way, because THE KILLER POET'S GUIDE TO IMMORTALITY - although a rollicking and fast-paced dark comic novel - contains enough poetry to fill a collection.
Kari& Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?
A. B.: There could not possibly be just one, but to honor the spirit of the question, let's focus on Ignatius J. Reilly from John Kennedy Toole's classic comic novel, A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES.  Ignatius is an extreme character - literally larger than life due to his broad girth, but also due to his outsized ego and wild opinions, and his total lack of insight paired with his spot-on critique of the larger culture of mid-20th Century America.  Though obnoxious he's very witty in a biting sort of way.  Ignatius is humanized by his constant aches and pains and his struggle to succeed, albeit at hot dog vending and in other bizarre pursuits.  He is doomed but he has the power to show us something important about ourselves - to grant us a bit of insight into our predicament, both personal and societal - through his failings.  I hope AB Bard of THE KILLER POET'S GUIDE TO IMMORTALITY is a bit like Ignatius in this regard. 
Kari& Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
A. B.: A clam because then I wouldn't have to answer questions of this sort.

Yes, it is true:  not all writers are chipper marketing muppets.  Indeed, there was a time when writers would not have considered hustling themselves, and it was a better time.  Just buy THE KILLER POET'S GUIDE TO IMMORTALITY and put me out of my misery.  Read it & I guarantee that it will do the same for you.  If it doesn't, I owe you a clam.

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