Everything You Need To Know About THE RADIANT ROAD Author Katherine Catmull
Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? I always answer Gabriel Garcia Marquez to this question, but I don’t know if that’s even true any more. But I keep saying it, because his brilliant, strange novels changed the way I thought about writing and reading. He showed me you can do anything at all in a book, as long as it’s true inside your world.
What’s your favorite thing about your book? That’s it’s about being brave enough—well, brave enough to live unafraid, for one thing, but also brave enough to make art. I’m a bit obsessed with how important it is for us all, all, all to make art. Or make something. Robots count as art! Get out there and make!
If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? I’m sure I’ll kick myself later, but all I can think of now is Seymour Glass, from Seymour: an Introduction and other Glass family sagas by J. D, Salinger. I really love Seymour’s seven year-old self in the story “Hapworth 16, 1924”—which was published once, in the New Yorker, and was so roundly loathed and mocked that Salinger never published anything again. I urge you not to read this story! Absolutely every legitimate critic from the past fifty years has hated it! But for some reason, I love that endless letter home from camp from a nutty seven year-old American Buddha. I’d love to meet old Seymour.
Where do you write? In my blue-walled room with a terra-cotta tiled floor, at a little yellow desk stained with many colors of ink and crayon and paint, surrounded by bookshelves and art supplies. I put that desk in The Radiant Road, in fact.
Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? I was just saying elsewhere in blogdom that I don’t believe in heroes. Strikes grim pose, chin raised against the night sky. Really, though, the concept makes me uncomfortable—it seems to me to fail in John Green’s excellent “imagine people complexly” requirement. But there are people in history whom I greatly admire. Harriet Tubman should absolutely be on the $20 bill, for example (not the $10, I like Hamilton—I also like Hamilton—but we could do without that racist Andrew Jackson on our money).
Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? Well, no one ELSE thought it was funny, but I thought this sign on a bus in Portland OR was hilarious, and my comment at least mildly amusing. (I went to college in Portland BTW. Love you, Portland! Just teasing!)
Passive aggression? Dryest possible sarcasm? Lucky Portlandians actually that unfamiliar with how AC works? pic.twitter.com/xbvjXpIJwb
— Katherine Catmull (@kmcatmull) September 17, 2013
What is your favorite season? Autumn. No contest. And it remains my fave even though for decades I’ve lived in Austin, which has a damn poor excuse for autumn weather. Sorry for the strong language but my feelings run deep on this!
If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Not very much of the universe is known! If I knew of some fabulous twin-sunned, three-mooned planet with a language made of song and a breath-based currency, I would go there. But since I only know our Earth … maybe Antarctica? I have two friends there now, and their Facebook photos are killing me.
Do you have any writing rituals? Must play solitaire. Must have many liquids to drink: types vary by time of day, weather. Must close door on needy, wriggly young cats and handsome, interesting husband. Must doodle in my writing notebook. At some point, must write.
Wriggly cat #1: Adam
Wriggly cat #2: Snub
What is your idea of earthly happiness? A snow day. By which I mean, a day when you were all set to work hard and slog through, but the universe gently takes the shovel out of your hands. You’re left with only a warm nest, your books and movies and food to cook, maybe someone you love to share with it, and an unexpected, unplanned day or two when there is not one single thing you’re supposed to do.
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? It is embarrassing to say, but I have not been to tons of concerts. Am one of those delicate flowers who says “oooh, it’s too loud! It’s hurting my ears!” But! many years ago, I saw Little Feat in concert, with Jerry Jeff Walker opening for them. It was New Year’s Eve, and I was with lovely people, and it turned out to be Little Feat’s last concert with the miraculous Lowell George. And it was fantastic.
What are you currently working on? Argh I dunno. Some wacky story that’s half girl-who-can-speak-to-wilderness and half Gawain and the Green Knight? Does that sound good? Hopefully it will be good. It also has a magic fox in it, and you can’t go wrong with magic foxes.
Thanks, Katherine! We can’t wait to hear more about your next novel.