This interview in the Los Angeles Review is a beautiful meditation on the writing community here in Portland, Oregon, and how Tom Spanbauer influenced my author Stevan Allred and so many others with his Dangerous Writing. Many of his students have become quite famous, including Chuck Palahniuk and Monica Drake.
Tom incidentally wrote a lovely blurb about Stevan’s book:
“You don’t need to be from a small Oregon town to recognize Stevan Allred’s characters. They are your mother, your father, your cousin Cathy. And probably more than you’d like to admit, they even feel a bit like you. A Simplified Map of the Real World is a highly-skilled collection of interwoven stories, surprising in its various styles and voices. But the real surprise is how close Stevan Allred gets to the beating heart of what it means to be human. Petty, profane, sacred, scared, hilarious. We’re all in this book. And that’s quite a triumph.” – Tom Spanbauer, author of The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon
For the interview, Stevan was interviewed by a former student of his, Liz Prato, who I met while studying with Stevan and Joanna Rose, his co-teacher at the Pinewood Table. So he also talks about what it was like to submit his manuscript to a press run by a former student. I talk about the literary community here in Portland on a regular basis, and how lucky I am, so it’s especially exciting to share this interview with you all.
One of the amazing things, to me? I didn’t know that I was the only press on Stevan’s list of places to submit. That stunned me. As a new editor and publisher. To have someone have that kind of faith in me.
In other exciting news, Anthony Lee Collins, one of the regular members of this blogging community, wrote about how preparing for a book launch is like prepping a band for a gig. He also quoted me moments after I returned home from seeing Stevan’s name on the big marquee at Powell’s. It was a pretty amazing moment to stand under this legendary literary landmark and see my author’s name in lights. Or rather, in black letters surrounded by lights.
Read Pop, Pop, Pop (goes the publicity popcorn) at U-town, Anthony’s blog.
And for those of you who wonder where Renata, Oregon, really is, like one of the comment-leavers did over at Emily January’s blog post, it’s fictional. Really. But if you want to know if there’s a real place that has similar elements, or perhaps a park with the same name as the park in the book, it’s Estacada, Oregon. We’ve been very clear to talk about Renata being its own thing, a made-up place crafted gently and with much love and care over a number of years, by author Stevan Allred. But the Estacada paper is publishing a story in today’s paper about Renata, Stevan, and A Simplified Map of the Real World.
Read “Renata reads a lot like Estacada” by reporter Isabel Gautschi.