Q&A with author Ben Kunkel
Where in the Eagle Valley did you grow up and attend school? Any plans to return?I grew up outside of Eagle – up Salt Creek, Brush Creek and then Eby Creek. I went to Eagle Valley Elementary School and Eagle Valley Middle School, and then went away to New Hampshire for high school. I miss being back here and over the past few years I’ve tried to spend a least a few months of the year either outside of Eagle or visiting my parents where they live now, on the south fork of the White River.Did you enjoy the process of writing a novel, as compared to your work as a reviewer and editor?Whenever I’m writing nonfiction I think, “Fiction is so much easier.” And whenever I’m writing fiction I think, “Ah, if only I were writing a book review, they’re so much easier.” Whatever you’re not writing is the easy thing.
Where did you get the idea for “Indecision?”It occurred to me that it might be funny to have a terminally indecisive person postponing his decisions even further, so that he could sit around and wait for an experimental pharmaceutical to kick in. Really the cure just exacerbates the disease.Some readers may assume that Dwight is an approximation of you. Is it fair to assume that Dwight’s views mirror your own?A few of Dwight’s thoughts may overlap with mine, but he’s – I hope – a much more wayward and cracked thinker than I am. It’s been striking so far, though, that a few reviewers have been determined to read this very fictional book – none of the characters, including Dwight, have originals in life – as a thinly disguised memoir.Are you working on anything currently? Can we expect to hear more from Dwight?I’ve got a new novel slowly under way, but it’s very different in tone and style from “Indecision.” If Dwight ever returns, older and no wiser, it won’t be for a while.
It has been suggested that “Indecision” be made into a movie. How do you feel about this?If they offered me a bit part, I’d be pleased. I also like it when anyone takes me out to lunch – any producer or director is welcome to take me out to lunch.What do you envision your future life as a writer to look like?I would like to envision a spare and quiet office, a productive man at an uncluttered desk. Honesty compels me to envision serious caffeine addiction and too many emails to answer.You are a founding editor of the literary journal “n+1.” How did this come about and how is the journal doing?
“n+1’s” doing as well as we could reasonably expect. http://www.nplusonemag.com is the place to go if anyone wants to subscribe and help us to do even better. A few friends and I started the magazine because it seemed that if we wanted a venue for the most interesting things we write, we would have to create that venue itself.What are your interests besides writing?I go hiking and backpacking when I can, and cross-country and downhill skiing in the winter. I also have a great interest in food – or maybe I only say that because I’m hungry right now.Do you have any book recommendations for us?”American Purgatorio” by John Haskell is the best new novel I’ve read in several years.
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