We promised you that part 2 of our interview with Rachel Pollack, author of The Child Eater, would come today, and we would not lie to you. So here it is, find out how Rachel first got published, who her ideal reader is and more.
11. How did you first get published?
My first novel, Golden Vanity, and my first non-fiction book, 78 Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot, were published at the same time, 1980, the novel through an agent, the non-fiction through a personal contact. The novel is long forgotten, 78 Degrees has never been out of print, and is sold all over the world.
12. How do you like to write: in silence, or with music? Do your books have a soundtrack (and if so, what’s the soundtrack for this one?)?
I can’t listen to music, it would only distract me, or else I would ignore it. But I do love to write in cafés, for the energy, and the lack of personal distractions (computer, books, radio, etc.). I should mention that I write everything longhand, with fountain pens, so I can write anywhere.
13. Do you have an ideal reader in your mind when you write?
Someone intelligent, interested in the same sorts of things as I am, and a lover of stories.
14. What was the most difficult part of writing this novel, and how did you overcome it?
Weaving the two threads together. The book moves back and forth between a mediaeval fantasy world, and the modern day, with two main characters who never meet each other.
15. What do you do when you are not writing?
See friends, read, watch TV, write long letters to friends around the world (one of the perks of fountain pen collecting is meeting some very interesting people online and then switching to hand-written letters)
16. Do you let your parents read your books?
My parents are long gone. My first novel was dedicated to my mother, who sadly was killed in a car accident before the book was published.
17. Who is your favourite fictional hero/heroine? And what about your favourite villain?
My favourite heroine is Jane Claire Doe, from the novel Tropic Of Night by Michael Gruber (I’ve read it four times). My favourite villain/hero is Dr Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs.
18. Do you ever put people you know in your books?
Only obliquely, though Temporary Agency had a character inspired by the writer Jack Womack, and when the editor, Gordon van Gelder, read the ms. he asked “Is that Jack?”
19. Here’s the question everyone’s always desperate for the answer: what advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Keep writing, pay no attention to rejection letters. Network with other writers.
20. Here’s the Desert Island question: if you’re going to be stuck on a desert island for the rest of your life and you could only take three books, what would they be?
Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce, because it would last a lifetime. For the Time Being, a collection of linked essays by Annie Dillard (I’ve read it four times, taught it twice). The Boy Scout Handbook, to learn how to build shelters, start fires, etc.
21. And finally: what’s the one question you wish I’d asked – and why?
“Fountain pens? Really?” There’s a bond between the hand, the pen, and the story that is simply not present when using a keyboard. Plus, the tactical pleasure of an expressive pen (and a beautiful journal) helps overcome the writer’s great handicap, procrastination.