I recently covered the superb anthology, THE NEW BLACK, and its editor, Richard Thomas, has helped me out with some interviews with a few of the authors (I asked the same 5 questions of everyone, to keep things neat), and also a handful of excerpts. I thought it would be fun to put some faces to the stories, and hopefully help you discover some new authors. So, since I’ll be sprinkling them throughout the month, I suppose May will officially be The New Black Month at My Bookish Ways. I interviewed Richard last week, and today I’ve got an interview with Kyle Minor, author of “The Truth In All Its Ugly”. Please welcome him to the blog!
Will you tell us a bit about “The Truth and All Its Ugly,” your story in The New Black, and what inspired you to write it?
Pinckney Benedict asked me to write a robot story for Surreal South, an anthology he was editing. I didn’t have robots on the brain, and I’d never written or thought about writing a robot story, although I did know about one masterpiece of a robot story, by Ryan Harty, titled “Why the Sky Turns Red When the Sun Goes Down.” That story has within it echoes of Pinocchio, and I thought I’d like my story to have within it echoes of Pinocchio. But that’s not what happened. I started writing in an old farmhouse in the middle of the Daniel Boone National Forest, probably five hundred feet from where my nephew had killed himself with a shotgun, and that’s all that was in my head, and that’s all that came out on the page. This was a macabre lesson: Your preoccupations follow you everywhere, even into robot stories.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I didn’t read any literature until I was about 24. I once avoided dating a girl I liked, in college, because she was going to be a writer, and I thought that wasn’t a life to share with a person like me.
What do you like to see in a good story, and what authors or novels have influenced you the most in your work, and your life?
I want to feel something deeply, I want to forget I’m reading once I’m reading, I want the language to bring me pleasure on every page, I want a deep engagement with the sensory world, I want to admire the carpentry, I want to be disturbed, I want to be made to keep thinking about the story long after I stopped reading it. I’m a fan of writers who do all these things, such as William Gay, Barry Hannah, Toni Morrison, Edward P. Jones, Katherine Anne Porter, Philip Roth, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Mary Miller, Miroslav Penkov, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Donald Ray Pollock, etc.
What do you enjoy most about reading, and writing, dark fiction?
90% of the pleasure is in the trouble. Darker fiction isn’t afraid to seek out the trouble.
What’s next for you?
I have a new book out, a collection of stories titled Praying Drunk, which includes “The Truth and All Its Ugly.” I’m also finishing a screenplay for a movie that will shoot in October if all goes according to plan, and a novel, The Sexual Lives of Missionaries.