December's Hot Writer: Giano Cromley
My genre: Fiction that has a compelling story, especially when it's told in first person present tense, because the readers get to experience the same reality as the main character. They get to squirm as they see the protagonist make a mistake that'll likely have dreadful consequences down the road.
My literary influences: In order for someone to be a true literary influence, I need to have consumed all of their work in its entirety. (I'm a bit of a completist in that sense.) The artists who fall into that rare stratum for me are: Richard Ford, Joan Didion, Graham Greene, and "The Mountain Goats." If you could put them all in a blender to mix up a literary smoothie, the resulting concoction would help any writer grow big and strong.
My favorite literary quote: It's from Richard Ford's "Independence Day." "In that way, I explained, she was my muse; muses not being comely, playful feminine elves who sit on your shoulder suggesting better word choices and tittering when you get one right, but powerful life-and-death forces that threaten to suck you right out the bottom of your boat unless you can heave enough crates and boxes -- words, in a writer's case -- into the breach."
My favorite book of all time: Really tough call here, but I think I'd have to go with The Sun Also Rises because I happened to read it at the exact write time in my life where the impact it had was huge. It opened my eyes to the possibility of what books could be about.
I’m currently reading: I'm re-reading "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" by Ben Fountain because it's so good it just makes me mad. And if you can't beat them, you might as well try to figure out what the hell they're doing and use it.
My guilty pleasure book: Since Raymond Chandler can't write any more books, my favorite guilty reading pleasure is anything that comes close to imitating his stuff. Please note the operative phrase "comes close," because the closer a book comes to imitating Chandler, the less guilty I feel about reading it.
I can’t write without: Music -- has to be wordless or it'll just mess me up. A good fountain pen -- Pelikan, Mont Blanc, Markiaro -- which pen depends on my mood and vice versa. Thick paper. Extended periods of unaccounted-for time. During fallow periods, I have to wait for the perfect celestial alignment before I'm feeling like I've got the go ahead.
Worst line I ever wrote: Right out of college I used to write constituent letters for a U.S. Senator. There was one line I wrote in a letter to a military veteran that was so bad my colleagues put it on the bulletin board of shame. The following is an attempt to recreate that line: "I will do all I can to ensure we give all we have to all of you who gave all you could for this great country." That seems pretty bad, but I'm pretty sure the real version was even worse.
Brief Bio: Giano Cromley's debut novel The Last Good Halloween was released this fall by Tortoise Books. His writing has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Literal Latte, and The Bygone Bureau, among others. He is the recipient of an Artists Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council. He teaches English at Kennedy-King College and lives on Chicago's South Side with his wife and two dogs.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for sites like Pop Matters and
afterellen.com Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," was called “poetic and heartrending” by ALA Booklist. Sarah is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
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