Thursday, September 15, 2016

Christine Reilly talks about SUNDAY'S ON THE PHONE TO MONDAY, rock and roll, family, sanity and so much more

"A sharply observed and bittersweet family romance with a rock and roll heart." Elle 

You all know how much I love debuts, so I was thrilled to come across this one. Yes, it's been out for a while, and yes, I was so overburdened with work, I forgot to get to it. But that doesn't mean I can't get to it now! I'm thrilled to have Christine here!

I always think authors are compelled or haunted to write a book—what compelled you? 

My biggest passion, tied with writing, has always been listening to people.  Human behavior fascinates me – when I was younger, I knew I’d either be a writer, a teacher, or a psychiatrist.  (Reading is a type of listening to people.)  I started Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday with a set of stakes, and challenged myself to answer them.    What happens to a family during and after the worst possible circumstances – death and illness -- occurs?  What happens to a woman when her sanity slips away?  What would a brother who would do anything for his sister act like?  What happens when “anything” results in destruction?

I loved all the music references in the book—is it your taste, too? Do you listen to music as you write?  Thank you!  It is, though I honed in on one particular area – rock and roll.  I too love folk, rap, soul, and blues.  I believe that passivity with art is important if you want to succeed in your particular craft – reading, listening to music, watching plays and films and dance, looking at visual art.  A muse has to be born somewhere.  I listen to all music when I write, and instrumentals when I edit.  Editing requires an extra ear.

I’m a sucker for novels about families, particular with sisters involved. Why do you think it is that families cause us the most grief—and yet, sometimes, if we are lucky, give us the most benefits? 

Well, they cause us the most grief and give us the most benefits because they’re the first ones to teach us about love.  Adulthood’s luxuries are choices – the free-will to choose our friends, our jobs, our homes, and what we do with our time, but family is the one thing we carry our entire lives, along with what family taught us about love and morality.  So family is inextricably linked with our childhoods, and the intense, unmediated feelings that accompanied our childhoods.

What kind of writer are you? Do you outline or try to wait for that pesky muse?  I studied poetry at Sarah Lawrence, and wrote two books of poetry before I finished my novel.  This has its advantages and drawbacks.  I’m a pretty stream-of-consciousness writer, but I edit on a very small scale.  Which is to say, I’d typically perfect one hundred pages sentence-by-sentence before realizing that the story has no plot.  But I’ve learned and am humbled by my failures, and now I outline as I produce content.  This is not my natural way of writing, but I’ve found it helps, even if I typically edit the outline alongside the book. 

What’s obsessing you now and why? 

David Foster Wallace: I’m in the middle of reading his biography, just taught his short story “The Planet Trillaphon As It Stands In Relation To The Very Bad Thing” to my high school fiction class, just watched The End of The Tour, and am about to begin his last book The Pale King.  I love everything about him – his sincerity, his deliberateness, his imagination.

What question didn’t I ask that I should have? 

I’d actually love to ask you a question!  I’m a huge fan of your books – when you start a story, do you know what the end’s going to be?  If not then, when?  And are you ever torn over how to reveal it?
BONUS ANSWER: Sort of know. Always torn. ALWAYS.

No comments: