Check out my interview with Amber Sparks, where I ask her about her new collection, The Unfinished World and Other Stories, and other things. Here’s an excerpt:
[Madera]: The stories here run the fabulist fiction gamut. You explore myth, science fiction, legend, horror, the fairy tale, etc., upending their tropes, often subtextually critiquing them. And sometimes you comment directly on genre conventions. For instance, in “The Cemetery for Lost Faces” we find an argument about what constitutes a fairy tale, some characters arguing that the “happily-ever-after is just a false front. It hides the hungry darkness inside.” What would you say motivates you to play with genre, to trespass their seeming borders? And how would you describe the “hungry darkness inside”?
Sparks: Honestly, most of it is a love for genre fiction, film, and television. The things that got me passionate about reading and writing, the things that I took the first story shapes and tropes from, were almost entirely genre: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, fairy tale. The first books I ever read were books of fairy tales my dad had from his own childhood. So I’ve been forming stories around these traditional structures and genre conventions forever, and playing with those conventions, upending them, for almost just as long. I wouldn’t say there’s an overt motivation beyond playfulness, between thinking always of ways to expand the possibilities of story. But I think if I’m being honest, feminism and an interest in outsider art, in fringe stories, probably also play a role, because there’s so much to be said about the role of women in these traditional stories and in stories outside of the traditional literary space.
Read the rest HERE.
One of my fictions, “Spectral Confessions and Other Digressions,” has been published in The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, edited by Davis Schneiderman (&NOW Books).
Happy to be in such fine company: David Shields, Craig Dworkin, Alexandra Chasin, Amelia Gray, Kathleen Rooney, Laird Hunt, Michael Leong, Matt Bell, Bhanu Kapil, Alissa Nutting, Brian Evenson, Andrew Borgstrom, Kim Hyesoon, Antoine Volodine, Johannes Göransson, Kate Bernheimer, Jesse Ball, J. A. Tyler, Amber Sparks, Joyelle McSweeney, and many more.
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Tagged &NOW Books, Alexandra Chasin, Alissa Nutting, Amber Sparks, Amelia Gray, Andrew Borgstrom, Antoine Volodine, Bhanu Kapil, Brian Evenson, Craig Dworkin, David Shields, Davis Schneiderman, J.A. Tyler, Jesse Ball, Johannes Göransson, John Madera, Joyelle McSweeney, Kate Bernheimer, Kathleen Rooney, Kim Hyesoon, Laird Hunt, Matt Bell, Michael Leong, Spectral Confessions and Other Digressions, THE &NOW AWARDS 2: The Best Innovative Writing
I’m looking forward to reading with Amber Sparks, come November 11, 2012 at Ada Books, one of my favorite places in Providence, RI.
Ryan W. Bradley designed the bizarre image for the reading, and he’s available for your design needs. Check out more of his work here: http://www.aestheticallydeclined.net/
I just picked up a copy of the latest issue of American Book Review and was happy to see that Amber Sparks reviewed The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature. Sparks said this about my piece in the collection:
The writers included in the pages of The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature do a great deal with one simple constraint. Some contributors, like John Madera with his very funny “Spectral Confessions and Other Digressions” (in which Slimer from Ghostbusters‘s musings appear alongside a drink recipe from Bloody Mary and “a delightful essay on financial management by Jacob Marley”), or Matt Bell with his piece on expanding possibilities, embrace the blurb form as starting point for a really good riff.