December 26, 2012 by Nathaniel Tower
Stephen Ramey tagged me to do this even though he has no knowledge about my upcoming books. He must have just figured I had something in the works because I always try to do too many things at once. I’m honored to be tagged by Stephen.
What is the working title of your book?
The Funeral Attendee is a novel-in-progress. It’s about 85,000 words right now and starting to wrap up.
Where did the idea come from for your book?
I’ve written a bunch of absurdist stories that feature great conversations between husbands and wives. The wives are often these stereotypical nagging wives, and the husbands are almost always these stereotypical idiot husbands. But each wife and each husband has her or his own personality that transcends these ridiculous stereotypes. And there are some wives who are really amicable and supportive and some husbands who are intelligent and caring. At some point, I noticed some common themes and decided to put the stories together in a collection. Although one editor rejected the collection, citing it as misogynistic, I think most readers will root for the wives over the husbands. It’s important to note that the stories aren’t about the relationship between the husband and the wife. That’s just something that happens as the husband tries to overcome some absurd conflict. Not every story actually has husbands and wives. But most do.
For The Funeral Attendee, I guess I’ve always been fascinated by the whole funeral industry and the way everything works. So I conjured up this story about people who get paid to attend funerals in order to make the deceased look more loved.
What genre does your book fall under?
Nagging Wives and Foolish Husbands is a collection of literary/absurdist/surreal short fiction. There’s some flash and some longer stuff in there.
The Funeral Attendee is literary fiction.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For Nagging Wives and Foolish Husbands I think there are great roles for Sean Penn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Rachel McAdams. Rachel McAdams should play the wife in every story.
The Funeral Attendee would be Ryan Gosling, but he’s probably a little too old. Mila Kunis would be perfect as Jolene.
What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
Nagging Wives: Wives (sometimes) nag their (sometimes) foolish husbands as they battle their way through wildebeests, hair clump clones, boot children, and giant squids.
The Funeral Attendee: A young man struggling to find his way becomes a professional funeral attendee and forms relationships based on this lie.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Nagging Wives will be published by Martian Lit.
The Funeral Attendee is still in the works. It’s almost finished. I’ll shop it around the agencies, hopefully by the end of 2013. It might be 2014.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Nagging Wives is the product of about five years of writing.
The Funeral Attendee first draft is set to be completed within a month, putting it at almost a year for the first draft. This seems pretty quick. This is the product of a long stretch of dedicating at least 500-1000 words per day. I would imagine there are many drafts to come.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Hm. Good question. For the collection, I want to say Ben Loory’s Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, but the style of the stories is completely different. Still, it seems like an apt comparison for some reason. Or maybe Rae Bryant’s The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Nagging Wives: “Quitting is Easy” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Many of the stories appeared in really cool publications like Liquid Imagination, Bourbon Penn, and Drabblecast. A woman falls in love with a blade of grass in one of these stories. If you aren’t interested by that, then you must not read anything.
Now I have the honor of tagging some fellow writers you should know about. Look for their posts next week. I’ll share them here.
1. Joseph Michael Owens is the fantastic author of the short story collection Shenanigans!. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve rejected a few of his stories over at Bartleby Snopes. Read the collection. It’s phenomenal. Here is Joseph’s Next Big Thing