The Daily Monocle

Critical book reviews from a literary skeptic.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Contest Winner + Interview!

Posted by J. P. Wickwire

Congratulations Livs F.! You are the winner of a signed copy of Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin!

And now, after a week of set-backs and difficult stuffs, here's an interview with Sean Beaudoin. Enjoy. :)


To start things off, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself... in rhyme?

There once was a man from Seattle, who was paid to toss off entertaining prattle
He wrote with aplomb, on his left hand was an extra thumb
All the better with which to hitchhike, plug dikes, and respond as if addled.

When did you first know you wanted to write professionally?

Probably around fifteen. Various teachers were complementing me on my essays and vocabulary and so forth, without ever complimenting me on much else. So, it seemed a natural.

What was it like getting your first novel published?

A colossal relief. Vindication. Permission to drop the whole mantle of embarrassment around saying “I am a writer” out loud. A temporary reprieve from certain economic concerns. Like being indoctrinated into a secret society where everyone wears pointy hats.

You have published three novels--Going Nowhere Faster, Fade to Blue, and You Killed Wesley Payne. How has your writing changed since getting your first book published?

I think you keep getting better, just as if you spent X number of hours a day playing saxophone. You begin to know yourself and your limitations more clearly. Your chops are honed, instincts heightened, bad habits slowly pared to the bone. On the other hand, I’m eight years further away from being a teenager and caring who Katy Perry is.

How long does it usually take you to finish writing a novel? How about reading one?

Writing a novel, when you factor in all the non-writing aspects, usually absorbs about eighteen months of my life. Reading time really depends on which novel. I’m a fast reader. I can whip through a book in a night. Or, I might savor it slowly if it’s especially good. I’m obsessive about finishing books I start even if I don’t like them. Those books tend to take longer.

What inspired Fade to Blue?

A girlfriend I had in high school. What it was like lying on the rug in my room with her, listening to records. Holding hands. Watching her from across the gymnasium and marveling that she would soon be sitting next to me. Also, a profound confusion about the nature of the afterlife and metaphysics in general.

Would you consider your novels character-driven, or plot-driven?

That’s a good question. I tend to find novels that are solely plot-driven to be fairly dull. I hope mine are idea-driven.

Do you outline, or just wing it?

I wing the outline.

You have tackled what could be called one of the most difficult concepts in literature: humor. Was this a conscious decision, or did it just kind of happen?

I think it’s bad form to say “I’m funny.” But usually when I’m having one of those moments where I’m talking to someone and being all vulnerable and honest and we’re taking turns saying what we like about each other, people whisper “you’re funny.”

If you could choose one of your books to be turned into a film, which would you choose and why?

I want all of them to be immediately optioned by the guy who made Zombieland. Or, you know, Martin Scorcese. But I think You Killed Wesley Payne is practically a script in book form. I think a person with the right vision could make a fantastic, hilarious, crazily high-concept movie out of it.

Who is your favorite character to write?

It’s like asking who your favorite child is. I love them all the same. Except that the answer is probably Sophie Blue.

If it was that character’s birthday, what kind of cake would they eat?

One with black frosting, shaped like a giant lipstick.

You get to spend an hour with any writer in history. Who is it?

Apparently Norman Mailer was a lot of fun at a party. And Herodotus would definitely be able to put a few mysteries to rest. But I think I’d go with Vladimir Nabokov. Poet, historian, professor, linguist, raconteur.

Are you working on anything right now? Care to share?

My next book, Wise Young Truck, is already done and in production. It’s a rock and roll saga. I’m actually working on the one after that at the moment. Suffice it to say it’s vampire-free.

Do you have any advice for writers trying to break into the market?

Read constantly. Write at least one really great short story before you tackle a novel. Keep in mind that an exceptional short story may require thirty or more drafts. Be disciplined. Don’t follow trends. Don’t be too clever. Practice being interviewed. Essentially, writing is way too hard to waste your time on if you don’t passionately want to do it.

Thanks so much for joining us at The Daily Monocle!


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