Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on thriller and fiction author Antoine Wilson. Antoine is the author of three novels: Mouth to Mouth, Panorama City, and The Interloper. He is also a contributing editor at the literary magazine A Public Space.
Antoine, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
What’s the phrase? Wherever quality books are sold. But preferably through an indie bookstore and/or Bookshop.org.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
Website antoinewilson.com Twitter @antoinewilson Insta @theantoinewilson
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Mouth to Mouth?
Mouth to Mouth starts with a chance encounter. Jeff Cook, a successful art dealer, bumps into a former UCLA classmate at JFK, invites him up to the first class lounge, and unspools the story of his rise, beginning with his rescue and resuscitation of a drowning man on the beach in Santa Monica, a man with whom his fate becomes inextricably entangled. It’s a novel about deception, fate, and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and how we got here.
What was the inspiration for Mouth to Mouth? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
Inspiration is usually hard to pin down, but with this novel I can identify at least one source in something that happened to me in 1997 and has stuck with me ever since. I was down by the waterfront in Seattle, visiting with some friends, and I stopped a man from inadvertently stepping in front of a train. When he realized what had happened, he looked at me and said, “You saved my life! I’m going to buy you a big steak dinner!” Once the train passed, he kept walking, and I never saw him again. (My friends made fun of me for years about this.) But the seed of that event would germinate until about ten years ago, when I started taking the first swipes at a novel that would eventually become Mouth to Mouth.
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out Mouth to Mouth? How did you overcome that challenge?
Finding the right point of view is always a challenge. For Mouth to Mouth, it was a series of challenges. I couldn’t quite figure out how to tell the story, i.e., who should be telling it and how. It was while working on another project—a sacrificed twin, maybe, to this novel—that the structure came to me. I made a note and kept working on that other book. When I hit a massive roadblock, I returned to Mouth to Mouth, and everything clicked into place.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
In the near future? Ha, ha. I’m afraid it’ll be a bit longer than that. I’m working on another novel, but it’s slow going, as always.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
When I was younger, I found first drafting easy and revision difficult. Then, as I became more serious about writing, a kind of polar shift occurred, and now I find first drafting to be the most challenging part of the process. Creating something from scratch, day after day, requires a great deal of energy, focus, and endurance. Revision, in comparison, is both more fun and more gratifying.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
You have to find your own way.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Antoine!