Bob Shacochis

The illusion of control has to be there, but mostly I’m following characters and the consequences of their own decisions, because a lot of the time they made decisions about what to do or how to behave that I had no idea were coming down the pike. As I would sit and try to inhabit a character, they themselves in my imagination would have quite a bit of free will.

“The illusion of control has to be there, but mostly I’m following characters and the consequences of their own decisions, because a lot of the … Read More

For any artistic person who creates imaginary people, the art is like inhabiting the life and mind of a seven-year-old child with imaginary friends and imaginary events and imaginary grace and imaginary tragedy. Within that alternate universe, the characters do have quite a bit of free will. I know it’s happening in my mind and my mind alone, but they seem to have their own ability to shape their destinies. So I’m not shooting for anything. If the characters are vulnerable it’s simply because they’re very human.

“For any artistic person who creates imaginary people, the art is like inhabiting the life and mind of a seven-year-old child with imaginary friends and … Read More

With iron and blood, it seems, and from the rich depths of the earth, John Griswold has fashioned a classic American novel, its dignified intonations of our young nation’s sweat and tears evocative of the indelible storytelling of Dos Passos, Frank Norris, and Upton Sinclair.

“With iron and blood, it seems, and from the rich depths of the earth, John Griswold has fashioned a classic American novel, its dignified intonations … Read More

I’m asked all the time, “Doesn’t it feel great to finish the novel?” And the answer to that is, “No.” It’s sort of a loss to stop a 10-year project, which is an imaginary project in the sense that it’s a work of my imagination. The people who I’ve lived with for 10 years in my imagination are now sort of defunct. To lose them is rather a mournful process – it’s not a relief.

“I’m asked all the time, “Doesn’t it feel great to finish the novel?” And the answer to that is, “No.” It’s sort of a loss … Read More

The biggest challenge in the research process is to let go, to stop, to say enough, and then to reduce all of that beloved labor down to a few succinct paragraphs that shape the background to your narrative. I love research – that’s all the fun, especially in the field. To write, however, is to suffer, and my pieces usually come in thousands of words over the assigned length. That’s a serious flaw in my writing process – shaping and disciplining the footlockers of material one has so happily gathered.

“The biggest challenge in the research process is to let go, to stop, to say enough, and then to reduce all of that beloved labor … Read More

What I do is, I’m like a disease that infects real people and I take them over. We can start off in a very journalistic mode describing a character and observing a character – and that’s what I do with a lot of characters in my books. And then my imagination eats them alive.

“What I do is, I’m like a disease that infects real people and I take them over. We can start off in a very journalistic … Read More