Get To Know Author Anthony Marra | Meet Him Oct. 17!
Anthony Marra is the New York Times-bestselling author of “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena,” longlisted for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction, and the Barnes and Noble Discover Award. His new book is “The Tsar of Love and Techno.”
You can meet him, buy his book and get it signed at the 2015 Books by the Banks book festival, Oct. 17.
He recently took some time to answer questions for our blog.
The First Five: 5 questions posed to every author featured on the BBTB blog. (Our very own lightening round!)
- What are you currently reading?
“A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk”
- What’s the first book you remember falling in love with?
“‘Calvin and Hobbes’, specifically the collection ‘The Revenge of the Baby-Sat,’ which I read when I was seven or eight. Most of the non-slapstick humor went over my head, but Calvin’s capacity to escape into his imagination and create entire worlds of adventure and excitement likely has had a more profound effect on me as a reader, writer, and person than any other literary work.”
- If you weren’t a writer, what would be your dream job?
- Describe your ideal writing environment.
“A room with a view of a parking lot.”
- What are you looking forward to most about Books by the Banks?
“I’m thrilled to be going to Books by the Banks, not least because I’ll finally get to meet Jeff Hillard, who is moderating the discussion for my event. Jeff and I have kept in regular contact over the last few years, but this will be my first chance to meet my old friend in person.”
The Final Four: 4 unique questions crafted specifically for the featured author. (Time to get persona
- Much was written and discussed regarding your research for A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon. Can you share with us your research process for The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories?
“I wrote much of Tsarin between writing drafts of Constellation, so in many cases I was able to draw from the same well of memoirs, journalism, interviews, and histories. Over the course of a few days, I traveled from Chechnya (at Russia’s southern border) all the way up to the Russian Arctic in an attempt to cross some of the same territory the book covers. But the most important research any novelist can do focuses on the inner lives of his or her characters. It isn’t having the right dates, or the right trees in the right forests that authenticates a novel (though that of course helps). It’s always the characters that make a book come alive and feel true.”
- Do you have a favorite character from your books? If so, what makes them stand out?
“While I was writing Constellation Akhmed or Sonja were my favorites. My relationship to my characters change as I change, and at this point, Khassan is my favorite, largely because he’s the character that I still have the most to learn from.”
- Your novels involve situations and places that are quite unlike the world many of us live in. What do you want your readers to take away from your work?
“I hope readers get from my work what I always hope for when I begin reading a new book. Namely, a new angle with which to see the world, an emotionally complex engagement, a few laughs, and a reminder of how magnificent and monstrous life can be.”
- Chechnya is not a common setting for many novels. What do you think draws you to this area?
“What initially drew me in was the fact that Chechnya is so off the radar for most of us in America, and yet the challenges and conflicts that average people have faced there are immediately familiar. I believe that a good novel can be a tunnel that drops us through the center of the earth, so that we emerge on the other side next to people we’d never otherwise know. Constellation and Tsar are my tunnels to Chechnya.”
Books by the Banks will take place 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati. Check out the latest list of confirmed authors.