I did an interview with IndieAuthorLand in support of Martha Toole. I thought I would share it with people here. If you dig what I say feel free to pick up the book.
Why you must read Jason Derr’s The Life and Remembrances of Martha Toole
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By David Njoku / March 31, 2014 / Literary / No Comments
The Hammer family of Hammer Fields, Virginia, do not know what to expect when elderly matriarch Martha Toole comes for a visit. Only the eldest son, John David Hammer, a painter and lover of family history, seems to enjoy her presence. The family is thrown into deeper distress when, during a visit to the old homeplace, John David and Martha Toole are followed home by the ghost of Martha Toole’s youth.
Ghost? What kind of novel is this? It doesn’t sound like horror.
Magical Realism, Literary Fiction. If you like well crafted fiction with an emphasis on language, idea and story then this is for you. If you are drawn to the works of Franz Kafka, Kurt Vonnegut, John Crowley or Neil Gaiman this is for you.
We love Vonnegut and Gaiman, and can appreciate Kafka. Tell us more about your book, tho.
John David is the oldest son of the Hammer family, who in a past life were the founders and power family of their town of Hammer Fields, Virginia. Now they are just another suburban family putting up with an overbearing elderly relative. Martha Toole, great-great-something-aunt has come to visit and has no clear plans when she might go home. John David, painter, lover of family history, is half in love with the stories and memories Martha Toole has to share about the family and its relationship to the land. One day, on a visit to the Old Homeplace, John David meets the ghost of Martha Toole’s youth, a ghost who follows him home.
We think it’s a great premise for a story; it reminds us of Dickens’ ghost of Christmas past. Where did your inspiration come from?
‘Martha Toole’ came while I was watching The Waltons with clients at work. The opening line and the central image came flying at me and I had to leap up and catch it before it got away.
I think the quest of John David – to find his place, to find his art, to not leave his family and history behind but to find a perch to view the world from, is my own journey. Beyond that – a lot of my father’s family and even my mother’s mother are in the story. These are not direct commentaries on them, but reflections and bits of experience strewn throughout.
Have you written any other books that we should check out next?
I have a novella I am very proud of called ‘The Boston 395‘ that is out as well as a Young Adult short story called ‘Her Red Wings‘. Both are literary magical realism and are out on Amazon.
We’ve been following your 10 Questions with an Indie Author… series on the Huffington Post. Tell us your theories on self-publishing.
The gatekeeper is dead. Ebooks are 30% of publishing and a big portion of that are the indies. Soon we will see 50%. So how do we find quality work? The answer is about curated networks.
That is exactly the service we try to provide here. We’ve talked about your work with the Huffpo, but do you have a personal website?
Tell us about yourself.
I am from Virginia. Did my Creative Writing degree at Eastern Washington University and have my MA from the Vancouver School of Theology in Vancouver, BC. I live in Portland, Or with my artist wife and hyperactive son.
Do you use social media?
I am working on another novella called ‘Spirit Animals’ and collecting info for a larger novel project called ‘The Books of Wisdom’. I have bits of ideas and projects so I am never truly at a loss for thins to work on.
If we give you four random words – Man, Woman, Mexico, Future – can you give us a brief storyline?
Mexico, 2099. A man and a woman are hiding out in the countryside, drinking good wine and having a general good time. The locals know something is up with them; but these days you don’t ask questions. One day a man in a white suit and black gloves arrives, asking questions. The man and the woman know their time is up. They had escaped an overcrowded future through stolen time travel tech – but now they would have to go home.