One last “next big thing,” Reader. I’ve enjoyed showcasing the work of so many writers. This last post is from Alan Davis:
What is the working title of your book? My book’s title is The Theater of the Invisible Guests.
Where did the idea come from for the book? I spent a summer in Indonesia (Bali and Java), where the dalaan (shadow puppet master) who makes an occasional appearance in the novel and strongly influences its narrator first made my acquaintance. A few years ago, here in Minnesota, a man now known as the Craigslist killer committed a horrible crime, the murder of a young woman he lured to the house where his parents lived, and that crime is central to the plot.
What genre does your book fall under? I wrote the book as a novel.
What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie? Ryan Gosling might be the narrator and protagonist, though it could also be Edward Norton. Karen, his Kentucky fiancé who works as a horsewoman and whose father is the influential Colonel, might be played by Natalie Portmann, though Rachel Weisz would also work if it was Norton and not Gosling.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? In The Theater of the Invisible Guests, a man brought from England as a boy moves to the Upper Midwest after he loses his family and becomes obsessed with, and then implicated in, a murder in his neighborhood.
Who published your book? The book is unpublished. My previous books include So Bravely Vegetative (winner, Prize Americana for Fiction 2010) and two other collections of stories, Alone with the Owl and Rumors from the Lost World.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Several years.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, Albert Camus’s The Stranger, Knut Hamsun’s Hunger, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground.
What is there about your book that might pique a reader’s interest? Walker Percy once wrote a book titled Lost in the Cosmos. In this novel, a protagonist who is lost in America undertakes a journey of self-discovery that leads him from the islands of Indonesia to the blue grass horse farms of Kentucky when he decides to befriend an alleged murderer who lives in his Upper Midwest neighborhood and finds himself under suspicion as a possible accomplice. Readers who like Kerouac might want to travel with him. Readers who enjoy literary mysteries will want to know how things turn out, and those who like love stories will skip to the end (if they’re unscrupulous) to find out what happens in Kentucky.
Alan Davis teaches in the MFA program at Minnesota State University, where he is Senior Editor of New Rivers Press, and in the low-residency MFA program at Fairfield University in Connecticut. He’s received a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction in Creative Prose, a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, and a Lake Region Arts Council Fellowship, as well as Fulbright awards to Indonesia and Slovenia. For ten years he co-edited American Fiction, an anthology of short stories chosen in 1998 by Writer’s Digest as one of the top 15 places in the United States to publish fiction. His three collections of stories include So Bravely Vegetative (which won the Prize Americana for Fiction in 2010), Alone with the Owl, and Rumors from the Lost World, which Dorothy Allison reviewed in The New York Times Book Review: “Alan Davis’s voice transports and sings….I kept thinking that I wouldn’t mind winding up as a character in one of his stories. Odds are, he’d do me justice.”