Steve Almond first became known to me when his ode to sugary snacks,CandyFreak,hit the stores-as someone who remembers when the Hundred Grand bar was called the Hundred
Thousand dollar bar(I can even sing the commerical jingle,too sad),his search for the
chocolates of old across America made me feel like I've found a friend. He's also written two short story collections,My Life In Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B.Chow and
Steve's now crossed into uncharted territory for him-along with Julianna Baggott,he's
written a He Wrote/She Wrote novel called Which Brings Me to You,subtitled"a novel of
confessions" which is due out this spring from Algonquin. It's the story of John
and Jane, whose botched one night encounter turns into a correspondence of romantic
confessions. And now,the man of the hour:
>1)You're best known as a short story writer;what made
>to work on a novel?
SA: I've been working on novels (suck-ass ones) for the last ten years. So the idea wasn't a new one. The impetus for writing this one, really, belongs to Julianna. She proposed the idea, pushed me on it (politely) and sent me a draft of the intro, which was awesome. It was the kind of piece that sucked me right in.
>2)Who came up with the concept for Which Brings Me To
SA: Julianna. All her. She had the thing in her head. She's clever that way.
>3)Is it harder or easier to write a book with someone
SA: I'd say it's easier, over all. Writing is lonely. You never know if anyone's ever going to read your stuff and give you feedback (did I mention my many failed novels?). With this book, we were able to send chapters back and forth and keep each other inspired. We were showing off for each other, which is exactly what our characters were doing for each other.
>4)Did any of the confession letters start out as short
>ideas or where they concieved just for this book?
SA: Yeah, these were all written for the book. I adapted a couple of them into stories later on. But they were conceived and written for the novel.
>5)The Evil B.B.Chow and other stories is due out in
>-if a person wanted to read only one of the
>would you select?
SA: Gosh, I don't know. I mean, it depends on what you dig. As a collection, it's all over the place. "I Am as I Am" is probably the saddest, most straightforward piece. "Appropriate Sex" is kind of a farce. "Larsen's Novel" would appeal to anyone (like me) who's written a shitty novel. "Lincoln, Arisen" is some kind of insane tone poem.
>6)Do you think you'll team up with Julianna for
SA: Ha. Hadn't considered it. As much fun as we had, something tells me we'd want to wait till the book tour is over before we answer this one.
>7)Discovered any new candies lately?
SA: Always am. I'm most excited about the Candyfreak Signature piece which I actually DESIGNED! It's a soft caramel, infused with cocoa and cinnamon, sprinkled with crisped rice, and enrobed in dark chocolate. INSANELY good. Shameless plug: you can order it on-line from Granny's Chocolates, in Gilbert, AZ.
You can go to Steve's website by clicking the title link and find out where to order
his new invention as well as check out excerpts from his other books. Which Brings Me
to You will make a fine addition to Steve Almond's Whitman Sampler of Literary Treats(you won't get that from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory!).
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