Today, I’d like to welcome Mik Everett to the Author interviewees’ chair with her novel ‘Turtle: the American Contrition of Franz Ferdinand’. In addition to this interview, Mik is also offering one lucky winner a free copy of the book; all you need to do is leave a comment below to be in with a chance of winning.
According to Amazon “19-year-old Anne tells her mother, “Your father tried to rape me.” Her mother replies, “You’re going to have to deal with it.” Herself a young mother, Anne collects facts in an attempt to make sense of her mother’s story and reconcile her rural Creole childhood with her suburban Midwestern life.”
This was a difficult book for me to read; I’m not sure whether it was the content or the style of writing, but I found it hard to keep my attention focused; it was as if my mind would rather deal with anything other than the story that was unfolding before me. The writing is exceptional and Mik tells her true tale of coming to terms with loss and adjustment in a matter of fact ‘only if you’ve lived through it’ kind of way. I felt a little like I was intruding at times, but her openness came through and whilst I still don’t really understand the metaphor that was Franz Ferdinand, I do now have an inkling of the philosophy and world view that allows the protagonist to cope with both the past and her, very challenging present.
Very few people know about, or understand, living with Sensory Integration Disorder. I do a good job of hiding it, I think. My brain does not properly process information it receives from my senses, causing symptoms similar to dyslexia, as well as a host of others. I have prosopagnosia, or facial blindness. Commonly, when people look at another’s eyes, nose, and mouth, their brain gathers the information into a recognizable face. Although I see people’s individual facial features, I am not able to recognize faces. I use other cues, such as clothing, mannerisms, and voice. I also cannot properly process auditory language. I rely heavily on lip-reading, context, gesticulation, and tone in order to gather meaning. This makes talking on the phone very difficult for me. On the other hand, because I am forced to pay attention to other details, I believe this makes me a better writer. Other people can listen blindly while someone talks. I can’t do that if I want to understand what is being said. (Linda’s Aside: perhaps it is this additional skill that has made your prose so compelling!)
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
I wish I could just reprint it here. It was a review on Amazon, of all places, and it may have been more eloquent than the actual book. It said my prose bordered on lyrical or poetic, which would have been flattering to me as a writer, no matter the subject of my book. But the same review also insisted that I ‘didn’t paint anyone out to be the victim, least of all [the narrator].’ This observation indicated to me that I really did my job as a non-fiction writer dealing with subject matter ranging from child abuse to mental illness to cancer. The review also emphasized that I didn’t stumble to the normal pitfalls of memoirs written by young people, such as romanticizing drug use. That’s been something I’ve really struggled with. Not drug use– People not taking me seriously because, well, what does a 21-year-old girl know?
What did the worst review you ever had say about you and your work?
I haven’t had a bad review yet. This means that I haven’t had enough reviews yet. I won’t feel like my book really accomplishes what it meant to until it starts making people angry. I don’t want to live in a complacent America. That being said, I sincerely hope I’m never called boring in a review. Brazen, failed, self-important, wrong– I can deal with being called those things. Boring, I cannot.
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?
For a long time, I dreamed of being a writer for the J Peterman catalogue. I guess that’s still a writer, huh? I have always wanted to start my own business. I’ve had a hundred ideas. Currently, my better half is in the midst of opening a books-and-beer store, and I expect I’ll be heavily involved in that.
Have you ever written naked?
Many times. I like to work before I get dressed in the morning, before I even get out of bed, when the window-light is still blue.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
Sometimes I make lists of tips for writing. Always on the list is: Make lists. They’re the most effective prevention and cure for writer’s block. Remember the scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s where Sally Tomato takes one looks at Holly Golightly’s list of expenses and gains and tells Paul Varjak, the writer, that his story is right there in the list and all it needs are some details? Grocery lists and to-do lists and meal plans are also excellent story-starters. You’ll find at least one of the latter in every issue of Good Housekeeping or Elle or whatever you read. Don’t you ever find yourself wondering, what kind of woman eats like that? There’s your story. Of course, I also use lists to stave off creative block in works-in-progress. I make lists of breeds of dogs, punny salon names, strange habits in strangers, items of clothing, types of beer. If you’ve got this database of details compiled in a notebook somewhere, you’ll never have to use a vague term like ‘dog’ or ‘beer’ ever again.
How do you remain sane while working?
Oh, I don’t. I totally scrap the idea when I’m serious about writing. I can stay sane while in the planning phase or while writing or editing a scene, but if I need to get serious work done, the pretensions to sanity must be dropped. I have other priorities in life when I’m sane. I cook and clean, I play with my children, I occasionally go to work. I eat and sleep. I am sober and dressed in public. To really write, writing must come first. Nothing else takes priority. And that’s just crazy.
Have you had to learn new skills and tricks or attempted impossible feats in order to get a book finished?
No, but I’ve found lots of strange odd-jobs while skillfully avoiding having to be gainfully employed while writing. The longest job I have ever held was as a logic clinician, and even then, I spent half my time on the clock writing. I’ve also been a dry-waller, a house-flipper, a nude art model, a normal model, a home healthcare provider, a housekeeper, an exotic pet-breeder. I’ve been an errand-runner for people under house arrest and drove carpool for people with suspended licenses. I’ve smashed up cars in junk yards for music videos and been encased in plaster-of-Paris for the sake of art. I’ve walked on runways and altered clothing for runways. I’ve been a photographer in multiple industries. I’ve written editorials and ad copy for fashion magazines. I’ve grown marijuana and brewed beer. I’ve learned a lot of strange skills and met a lot of interesting people while trying to support myself enough to write.
How to get a FREE copy of Turtle: The American Contrition of Franz Ferdinand
Mik has kindly offered a free copy of Turtle to one lucky commenter, you can choose from a physical copy or a Kindle copy, it’s entirely up to the winner. Leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning.
Where to buy the book and find out more about Mik Everett
You can meet Mik online in various places such as Twitter and GoodReads. You can also get your own copy of Turtle on Amazon in the UK and Amazon in the US, and you can find my reviews of Turtle on both these sites and on Goodreads as well.
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/