quinta-feira, 10 de dezembro de 2009

About regular folks: Interview with Poppy Z. Brite

Miss Brite is a writer with an attitude. Her characters are full of personality and life, more and more human and real, even when she deals with the depresive undead, avenging zombies or gay self-destructive popstars.

She claims that is not interested in genres and that her last two novels are much more about the so called real world than the books that gave her some notoriety in the Gothic fandom, but even so is possible for the careful reader to notice some fantastic flavor under the placid streets of New Orleans.


Octavio Aragão - Your work is very consistent when focuses the so called "men´s world", as seen in Liquor, Prime and even Plastic Jesus. The voice of your male characters are very believable, which is not an easy task since some famous authors like Anne Rice and Marion Zimmer Bradley fails terribly when they try to write down convincing men. What´s your secret to build such a strong cast?

Poppy Z. Brite - I guess it's that I have never felt like a female, or like a female author. I admire some female authors tremendously, but in every sense except the strictly biological, I identify as a male author.

OA - You wrote vampire tales (Lost Souls), some kind of apocryphal Alternate History (Plastic Jesus) and even a Holmesian crime story (The Curious Case of Miss Violet Stone). Are you a genre writer or just a pro writer who travel through genres? I mean, how do the things work? You think "now I want to write a Conan Doyle crime story" or you just write it to fill some editorial need?

PZB - The Holmes/Lovecraft story was co-written with David Ferguson for Shadows Over Baker Street, an anthology of fiction that blended the traditions of Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft. It would never have occurred to me to write such a story otherwise (and I should say that "Violet Stone" is more David's story than mine – I think I wrote the first six pages). I'm not very interested in genre; I just write about what interests me most. Right now that's the New Orleans restaurant world, a pair of young chefs, and their large Irish-Italian-Catholic family, all featured in my recent novels Liquor and Prime and my novel-in-progress Soul Kitchen.

Octavio Aragão & Carlos Fernandes Machado - I said that you wrote some "apocryphal" Alternate History. I was refering to Plastic Jesus, since it is a clear reference to Lennon and McCartney if they were lovers, not just working partners. Why not using their real names since it is a fiction work, turning it into a *real* Alternate History piece? Were you afraid of a bad reaction by the surviving Beatles or their legal representatives (lawyers, wives, sons, etc)?

PZB -No, but I wasn't interested in writing fanfiction either. That's a genre I disdain pretty seriously. I'm not entirely happy with the way Plastic Jesus turned out, but in the end, I hope I did manage to make the characters my own rather than pallid versions of Lennon and McCartney.

OA - You were not a fan of James O´Barr´s great comic/gothic creation, The Crow, but even so, you did wrote Lazarus Heart, a great novel (of two?) about the character. I believe this kind of answers my second question, but here we go anyway... :-) Why did you dislike The Crow and how did you find a way to like it that made you capable to write a novel about him?

PZB - First, I didn't write two Crow novels; just one, The Lazarus Heart. Second, I wouldn't say I disliked the comic -- it just didn't particularly interest me. The first movie did, though. I thought the script was well-done (by David J. Schow and John Shirley) and the thing was beautifully filmed. When publisher Harper Collins asked me to write a novel set in the world of The Crow, once I had as certained that I would be able to use my own characters and storyline, it didn't seem that different from writing any other novel – after all, the concept of someone returning from the dead to seek revenge is an old horror concept, not original to these stories.

OA - Seems clear to me that New Orleans is as much a character in your books as each guy named "Nothing" or "Seth". How much inspiratin do you *drain* from your relatives and the places you like? if you really do that - in order to build a character? And which one of your creations is the most like you?

PZB - The most wonderful thing about New Orleans (out of so many) is the voices you hear on the street every day. I love the way people talk, and I love to listen to them. This is my hometown, but I lived away for several years. The longer I live back here, the less interested I am in writing about spooky kids, serial killers, and such, and the more interested I become in writing about the regular folks of New Orleans: the cooks, the bartenders, the working Joes. They are at least as unusual as the self-proclaimed "freaks," and to my mind, anyway, far more interesting these days.

People who know us well say that the two young chefs of Liquor and Prime, Rickey and G-man, are much like me and my husband – me being Rickey, the bad-tempered one who agonizes over everything, and Chris being G-man, the easy-going nice guy.

OA - Thank you very much, Miss Brite. For more about Poppy Z. Brite and her novels, please visit her site, or her blog. She’s also on Twitter.

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