1. What is your name?
2. What is the title of your new book?
3. When was the book published and by whom?
April 2014 by powerHouse Books.
4. What other books have you authored?
5. What section should this new book be shelved under?
Letters / Belles Lettres / Biography & Literary Criticism.
6. What is the book about? What is its plot, focus, or subject?
Fare Forward is a book of letters written by the great experimental novelist David Markson to a younger me. I wrote him a fan letter in 2003, after reading his classic novel Wittgenstein’s Mistress. We became correspondents and friends, writing postcards and letters, talking on the phone, and occasionally meeting, until his death in 2010. His letters are witty, warm, and often hilarious. Even people who don’t know his work will enjoy reading them, and fans of his work should love them.
7. How did this book come about?
I wrote posts for Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s blog, in April of last year. Two of my posts were about David, and included excerpts from his letters. Wes Del Val, a publisher at powerHouse who is also a Markson fan, saw the posts, and got in touch with me about doing a book.
8. What was the hardest thing for you about writing/creating this book?
Meeting the deadline was a bit tricky, because the book came as a surprise and had to be completed in a matter of months. I was also putting the finishing touches on a new poetry book to be released at about the same time (spring of 2014), so managing the two deadlines (along with the rest of my life) was demanding.
9. What was the easiest thing for you about writing/creating this book?
Being involved in a project that centered around preserving (and hopefully furthering) David Markson’s legacy as one of the great American novelists of the last century.
10. Who are some of the authors (or artists) you admire that have inspired you?
I guess it’s too obvious to say David Markson! Instead of including what would be an extensive list of influences, I’ll mention three recent books I greatly admired: Karen Green’s Bough Down; Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation; and Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, especially the final essay, “Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain.”
11. If it were entirely up to you, what would the film adaptation of your book look like?
This is tricky, turning a book of letters into a film. Though I suppose it’s been done before. Wasn’t the Robert Altman biopic Vincent & Theo inspired by Van Gogh’s letters with his brother? It would definitely be an indie film, possibly shot in black & white…starring Warren Beatty as the elderly Markson, and, let’s see, Jennifer Lawrence (why not?) as me. Directed by…Noah Baumbach? Jane Campion? Richard Linklater? Hard to choose.
12. What are you working on now?
I’m working on a young adult novel–a murder-mystery. And I’m also working on new poems for what I hope will be a next poetry book at some point.
Laura Sims is the author of three books of poetry: My god is this a man, Stranger, and Practice, Restraint (Fence Books); her fourth collection, Staying Alive, is forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse in 2016. She edited Fare Forward: Letters from David Markson, a book of her correspondence with the celebrated experimental novelist (powerHouse Books), and has also published five chapbooks of poetry.
Questions by PMc Magazine
Photography Courtesy of powerHouse Books
Design by Francesca Rimi
Cover of Fare Forward & Laura Sims Author Photo, Photography Courtesy of powerHouse Books