Here ya, go. The wrap up with Polyandria NoAge regarding The Fountain (Russian translation due out October 2022 – translation by Anastasia Rudakova).
– Can you describe an approximate portrait of the reader of “Fountain”? Who, in your opinion, is its target audience? Did you think about it when you’ve been writing the novel?
Short answer: I think the reader of The Fountain is an astute reader, one who wants to be entertained and not condescended to. Who wants a complete story, but is delighted by humor and language, word play. I try to ask big questions of my character and readers, then let them see how different answers play out.
My American publisher’s mission statement was a revelation for me. Here it is:
“Whiskey Tit attempts to restore degradation and degeneracy to the literary arts. We are unwilling to sacrifice intellectual rigor, unrelenting playfulness, and visual beauty, often leading to texts that would otherwise be abandoned in a homogenized literary landscape. In a world gone mad, our refusal to make this sacrifice is an act of civil service and civil disobedience alike, and our work reflects this. We welcome like-minded readers and writers.”
I honestly think with Russia’s rich tradition of art, history, and humor that the audience will be bigger there than in the States, where literature isn’t celebrated as much as it used to be. So, I’m thrilled that my first foreign release is in Russia. I am sad that current events prevent me from visiting.
Addendum to short answer: The Fountain is the first novel I’ve written that is my voice, all my influences and playfulness fit in quite nicely. I wasn’t setting out to emulate any one writer, I wrote this book for me. No deadlines, no, oh what would a publisher think of this? I wrote it and wrote to make myself laugh. I think that joy comes across on the page. I was my own audience and that was very freeing.
Now I still had to apply craft, I still had to make sure there was a clarity to the story and characters. Despite all the writer tricks and absurdity. But that creative choice allowed me to draw inspiration from life, work, bits of news, or information here and there on a daily basis (most writers shut themselves off from these, because they don’t want to be unduly influenced). There are cultural references rife through the book. Easter eggs. Your translator caught quite a few of them. I just wanted to delight myself and so far, critics and readers have responded positively.
Longer Answer: See above.
– Last question. What would you prefer – to drink water from a fountain or to continue creating art-works during all your life without any guarantee of their future success?
I’m going to answer that with an email I received from a reader. It’s much more thought-provoking than my own answer:
“I think I would drink. Not for fame or fortune. Just to be heard. If even for a day.”