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June 07, 2005

The "What Happened While I Was at BEA" Interview Roundup

by Ron Hogan

  • While Mark Sarvas was with me at the bookblogging party, he turned The Elegant Variation over to Daniel Olivas and Luis Alberto Urrea, the latter of whom explains how he came to write The Hummingbird's Daughter:

    "First, I hear insane folk tales in Tijuana. Second, I live in Sinaloa for a couple of extended periods in my youth and hear more crazy stories. Third, I get a job as a bilingual TA in a Chicano Studies department and find out to my astonishment that [my aunt] was an historical figure and I read a text about her which begins something--I don't know yet what it is. Fourth, I meet a curandero who reveres her and recognizes me immediately as one of her relatives. I start to think hmmm...this could be an interesting thing to pursue."

  • Also in the blogging world, Stephen Elliott chats with a sex advice columnist about how "writing Happy Baby was like coming out of the closet for me." He explains, "It made me immensely more comfortable about my desires. Now I canít write about sex anymore because I donít have the same shame associated with it. I mean, without the shame and the conflict, why write about it?"

  • Dan Wickett's Emerging Writers Network spotlights Keith Gessen, translator of Svetlana Alexievich's Voices From Chernobyl, while the Internet Review of Science Fiction checks in with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, who ditched BookExpo hoopla to hang out at the University of Toronto's vampire symposium last weekend. She identifies her long-running series of novels about the immortal bloodsucker Saint-Germain as "historical horror" because, she says, "I find human history far more horrifying than the activities of a vampire."

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