Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on another long-time friend and supporter of our bookstore: Paul Tremblay!
Paul Tremblay is the author of six novels including The Little Sleep, No Sleep Till Wonderland, Stoker Award-winning A Head Full of Ghosts, and the forthcoming Disappearance at Devil’s Rock. A Head Full of Ghosts was also named one of the best books of 2015 by NPR and the A. V. Club, is currently in development for the screen in association with Focus Features, Team Downey, and Allegiance Theater. He has served as the president of the board of directors for the Shirley Jackson Awards, and his essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and numerous year’s-best anthologies. He has a master’s degree in mathematics, hates pickles, has no uvlua, and lives in Massachusetts.
Paul will be reading and signing, with his colleague Jeffrey Thomas, on Tuesday, July 5, from 7:00 – 9:00 PM.
Thank you very much for the interview, Paul! What was the inspiration for Disappearance at Devil’s Rock?
I get and take inspiration from so many sources but the setting of Borderland State Park in Easton, MA was certainly one of the biggest inspirations for Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.
I moved to this area from Boston in 1999 and I’ve been hiking and bike riding in the park ever since. So many hours spent there with my family, or walking my dog Rascal, or hiking and biking by myself…. I discovered the park right around the same time I was beginning to become serious about being a writer. I’ve walked around those wooded paths mulling so many story ideas and characters and plot holes. Setting this novel at Borderland almost felt like a small acknowledgement of where I started as a writer and a look forward to where I hope to go.
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
In Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, I enjoyed writing Kate the most. She’s probably the quirkiest and most complex, with motivations that are difficult to describe as she’s a tween faced with an impossible set of emotions to deal with. Kate and Tommy’s mother was probably the most difficult to write because what she’s going through (missing teen son) is so frightening to me. I found myself wanting to leave her headspace as soon as I could. Not a fun place to be at all.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Read, read, and read some more. Read in your genre of choice, and as importantly read outside your genre of choice. Then read some more.
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
I prefer silence most of the time. But if there’s commotion about, I’ll listen to instrumental music. I cannot write to music with lyrics. Too distracting for me. My go-to records have been mainly movie soundtracks: Ravenous, It Follows, and recently, The Witch. I also listen to the bands Swans, Mogwai, and Lustmord while writing too.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
Self-doubt. It’s essential. I mean, if I sat down and thought everything I wrote was amazing I wouldn’t be a writer; I’d be a raving lunatic. I prefer to be a quiet lunatic, lamenting my shortcomings and failures… Self-doubt makes me want to improve and write a better novel. There are times when dwelling on the doubt becomes counterproductive, certainly, and when that happens (or when I recognize it happening) I usually push away from the laptop and go do something else.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
Wherever books are sold!
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?