Today’s interview is with Genni Gunn, author of Permanent Tourists.
|1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?|
Genni Gunn. I live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
My latest book is Permanent Tourists, a collection of linked short stories.
3) What is the book about?
The stories in Permanent Tourists feature protagonists connected through a support group, all dealing with loss precipitated by elusive fathers, husbands and lovers, by a wife’s death, a lost child, sibling rivalries.. Tourists in their own lives and paralyzed by emotional inertia, they flee to evade responsibilities, failed relationships, their own shortcomings. Although the stories take place in Canada, the USA, Thailand, Cambodia, Mexico and Italy, my characters are less thrill-seeking tourists on vacation than they are P.K. Page’s “terrible tourists with their empty eyes longing to be filled with monuments.” What they’re looking for cannot be not found in any postcard destination.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I am an avid traveller, and often write while travelling. One of these stories, and perhaps the origin of them all, was a story commissioned by Danel Olson for his Exotic Gothic anthology series. Two of my stories ended up in Exotic Gothic Volume 2 and volume 4. Those two stories became one combined story in this collection, entitled “Solitudes.”
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote some of the stories some years ago, and five of them over about 18 months. I am not a quick writer.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
I found that the more I edited, and the more I connected the stories, the more I found connections that were already embedded in the text, which surprised me somewhat, because it was as if my subconscious knew more than I did in my conscious writing state. So all that was a thrill. I strongly believe in the subconscious, and in the fact that when we write, often we’re not even sure why we’re writing a particular thing. Yet later, we can see that it makes perfect sense, that we have intuited the connection between things.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?My author website is www.gennigunn.com, and you can click here for my Permanent Tourist book trailer.
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
I have taught creative writing for many years, and have always encouraged young authors to read, read, read. Every author I know reads constantly. It is one of the most illuminating pastimes one can have. And it is ultimately the best teacher for writers. Every time I read a fabulous book, I am inspired to go further in my own work. This does not mean imitation, but rather that great writing makes one strive harder to make great writing.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I read widely. When I was in the 30s, I made a new years’ resolution that I would read a book a week for the rest of my life, and I have striven to do this every year since. I manage most years. I read literary fiction, historical fiction, probably most of the prize-winning books in English Language, such as the Booker Prize winner, the Pulitzer, the National Book Awards, the International Dublin Literary Award, etc. It keeps one pretty busy!
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
This really changes as time passes. Right now, a book that has really stayed in my mind, despite having read it several years ago is Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of things. This book was published in Australia in 2015, and haunts me still. It is a Kafkaesque story of ten young women who awaken from a drugged sleep to discover they have been abducted and taken to the Australian outback. They have no contact with the outside world, and only slowly begin to discover why they have been abducted and taken there. I will give nothing away here, but to say that this is one of the most affecting and haunting books I have ever read.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
Oh yes, I have one polydactyl white cat, who in a couple of weeks, will turn 21! It’s the oldest cat I have ever had. She is, unfortunately, not too well at the moment, but hanging in there. She has been a joy in my life, affectionate and sweet as can be. She had a little sister, NuNu – a Siamese – who died a couple of years ago at the age of 17. Cats have always been an important part of my life.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I have a kindle, but actually, I download a massive amount of books and read them all on my phone. In the past couple of days, I have downloaded, The Friend by Sigrid Nunez, Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connelly (because I saw a fabulous review of this old book in The New Yorker), Virgin Wander by Leif Enger and Here the Dark by David Bergen. Because I travel a lot – though not right now during Covid times – reading on my phone has been my primary reading mode.
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