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Author Quiz interviews Christopher Carter Sanderson…
Is there anything about you or your writing that makes you unique from other authors?
Yes, my novel 1000, A Novel In Tweets is just that: 1000 tweets of exactly 140 characters each. It is being published on Twitter @1000thenovel and, as of November 4, 2012 it will pass the halfway mark.
Other unique things about it include that it is the second in a series of five works that all follow the same narrative. The first was 79 short fictions of 79 words each set in 1979, thus its title 79/79/’79. The third is a traditional novel, the fourth a garland of Fibonacci sonnets, and the fifth is a mega-novel.
As for me, I’m just your average guy, and have a couple of titles published — a non-fiction book from Routledge and a dramatic adaptation. Two of my musicals have been produced successfully in New York City.
Where did the inspiration for your latest novel, 1000, A Novel In Tweets come from?
It is a fairly straight-forward fictionalization of events in my life that even I have trouble believing happened. They’ve been compressed and embroidered appropriately, and nothing is completely lifted in tact from life. The fact that so many of the people I first met in High School went on to be so wonderful and famous after such completely screwed up teenage years was an inspiration. I think Truman Capote said, “all fiction is gossip.”
Have you ever written a supporting character who took on a life of their own or turned out to be far more popular than expected and if so do you have plans to feature them as the lead character in a story of their own?
Yes. In the prequel to 1000, a character has a forlorn little love affair and some travails that, in a way, provide comic relief. He grew and became more important in 1000, and will actually be the main character of the fourth book in the series.
Do you have any useful marketing tips for other authors?
Yes. I think they should pay close attention to how my series does over the next year, because it is a new business model for writing literary fiction: The prequel was released to a test group on FaceBook and is available free of charge for readers who are enjoying the tweet novel. These efforts all form a marketing base for presales of the third book, the novel, and will also be the nucleus of early adopters for the entire series.
If you worked for a publishing house, what sort of books would you be looking to publish?
I was an editor for Applause Theatre & Cinema Books for several years, and I was especially interested in publishing works of genius by members of underrepresented minorities.
What are some of your favourite quotes from reviews that you've received?
Well, I was certainly delighted that the first review included the phrase “extraordinary and enthralling,” and I was glad that it considered @1000thenovel “worth some serious scrolling, to read from the very beginning” since, as a list of tweets, you do have to scroll to the bottom and read up at first!
Would you rather have great reviews but average sales or great sales but average reviews?
That’s the question, isn’t it? Well, to be honest, I have what’s been called “a J.K. Rowling-esque” tale of personal woe, so I’d be an idiot to say anything other that I want the maximum number of sales possible. That said, great reviews and an enduring literary legacy would not be a bad consolation prize!
Is there a book out there which you feel is underrated and deserves a bigger audience?
Oh, of course. Everything by Richard Brautigan should be much more widely read. The Hawkline Monster is a neglected work of his. He had a huge impact on so many major American authors. And, he’s the bona fide example of magical realism working well, and working in English. His work is so different from mine, and that of the tradition that I fall into. Lovers of Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut’s early work, and Vladimir Nabokov will, I hope, find my seemingly avant-garde tweet novel fairly recognizable after they get used to the form. We should all be looking at Richard Brautigan’s books to inspire whole new traditions.
Why should people buy your books?
The readers of 79/79/’79 and 1000, A Novel In Tweets should pre-order the rest of the series because they have found the stories and characters so compelling and, as a reviewer put it, “you wouldn’t want to be left behind with all the other clueless old people if the trend catches on, would you?”
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Thanks for your comments, Christopher, and good luck with your writing.
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1000, A Novel In Tweets is tweeting now on twitter: