Thursday, December 3, 2009

Author Q&A: James Guilford

James Guilford, author of The Pencil Test, contacted me about reviewing his new novel, The Pencil Test, and was kind enough to also agree to answer a few questions for Buried In Books.

To learn more about James and his writing, visit his website here.

You can also download the first 5 chapters of The Pencil Test here!

Me: So your first novel, The Pencil Test, was released in November. Do you see yourself writing more novels in the future, or do you prefer sticking to essays and articles?

James Guilford: I definitely have more novels planned. Currently, I'm working on a book that can be best described as Precious meets The House on Mango Street.  I've been inspired by the fantasy movement to try my hand at something magical and futuristic.  This type of book has  been in my head for a while, actually.  We'll see how it works out.

Me: What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to only the genre and topics that you write yourself?

JG: Currently, I'm reading a lot more nonfiction.  But I read fiction, mostly.  Inside of fiction, I''m branching out to graphic novels and fantasy.  I try to read little of every genre.  Doing so improves my writing.

Me: That being said, what are you reading now?

JG: Right now, I have  few books going.  I'm reading Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood.  It's a novel a futuristic novel--really bleak, but with a humorous elements.  There's a whole bio-fusion movement that has resulted in the creation of different species, like lion-lamb crossbreeds.  I'm also reading The Best American Essays 2008 and I've just picked up Michael Cunnighams' The Hours to re-read.

Me: It's so interesting that you seem to know so much about the Rastafarian movement-you include it in The Pencil Test and I see you've also written essays on it. Does your knowledge on the subject come from personal experience rather than research, or vice versa?

JG: Because I have dreadlocks (and amazing one's at that--lol), I also thought about becoming Rasti.  Earlier in my life, I had adopted some of the Rastafarian beliefs (I was briefly "spiritual" and briefly "vegetarian").  So, some of my knowledge comes from experience.  The bulk of what's in The Pencil Test, I'd say about ninety-five percent of the Rasta stuff, comes from research.

Me: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

JG: In the works next is a novella--about 120-pages.  It's both humorous and sad.  After this short work, I have a long fantasy-sci-fi novel that I'll tap off.  I'd written the first chapter right before finishing The Pencil Test.  I'm excited to get back to it.  I'm always writing articles about school and education and parenting, because I was a teacher for 10 years.

Thank you so much James, for giving me a chance to read your book, and also for answering these questions for my readers! :]

See my review of The Pencil Test here.