The Questionless Books Interview: Novelist Christine Pountney
In The Questionless Books Interview, I get a whole bunch of books people (from authors to editors to publishers to sales / publicity / production people, booksellers, designers, librarians, readers, etc) to "answer" a series of unspoken "questions". The results highlight a delightful mix of the opportunities and challenges facing our sector: from doom and gloom to sunshine and rainbows, and every irony in between.
Christine Pountney’s third novel, Sweet Jesus, is out with M&S September 11th. She has two previous novels published with Faber&Faber, teaches creative writing at UofT, has written for Brick, The Walrus, Elle, Nuvo, The New Quarterly, The New York Times Magazine and The Guardian. She is interested the intersection between the sacred and the profane.
I am...a writer.
I am known to...take long baths.
I do this in...the buff.
I do this because...I’m dirty.
I do this when I...need to think.
The way I do this is...really languid.
At his/her core, a Writer is...someone who is perplexed by what other people take for granted.
As opposed to an Author, who is...a real observer.
A Writer is responsible for...being amazed.
As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for…getting shit done.
At its core, Publishing is...a business.
As opposed to Editing, which is...an art, elevated and esoteric, like alchemy.
A Publisher should always...keep an open mind.
As opposed to an Editor, who should always...remain fixed on the text.
A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is...one that has already been reworked.
As opposed to a Book that's ready to be read by others, which is...an ambitious and totally convincing quest that takes you somewhere which is not so much an ending, as the beginning of another quest.
A Manuscript should always...feel real.
As opposed to a Book, which should always...be real.
At its core, Bookselling is...a one-night stand.
As opposed to Book Marketing, which is...pornographic.
The smallest unit of narrative is...”I”.
The biggest reason to anticipate the future is...that our conviction it exists is ridiculously comforting.
The biggest reason to be scared of the future is...it will be painful.
In the future we will all...be the orphaned children of our own illusions.
At his/her core, a Reader is...someone who cares about the overlooked subtleties at the root of all spectacular gestures.
However, the ideal Reader is...also someone who makes time.