bookslut interview: Gun Dealers’ Daughter

Denise, my editor, interviewed me for bookslut. Here’s how it starts:


When agent Kirby Kim first sent me Gina Apostol’s Gun Dealers’ Daughter, pitching it as an “obdurately literate tale of rebellion and romance, adolescence and assassins,” I couldn’t help starting to read immediately, despite the piles of work that crowded my desk (I’m an assistant editor, after all!). And I kept reading and reading, through the end of the workday and onto the subway and before I knew it I was at home, locked out of my Brooklyn apartment because, in my excited daze, I’d left my keys at the office.

I wish I would have included that blurb on the back of the book: “This novel will make you leave your keys at the office” — Denise Scarfi. But aside from that omission, I have been thrilled with every stage of this book’s publication, and especially with the opportunity to get to know a writer who thinks so deeply and intelligently about her craft, and who writes out of pure enjoyment. It is a testament to her skill and sense of humor that she’d managed to have fun (and to create a fun reading experience) writing about Sol, a daughter of arms dealers who attempts to ditch her elitist roots and become a part of the communist movement — all (or mostly) for a boy!

I feel extremely lucky to have acquired and edited this weird, Borgesian puzzle-of-a-novel that seems to offer infinite satisfactions — a coming-of-age tale, a love story, an amnesiac thriller, a revolutionary potboiler. In this interview, Gina and I talk about the novel as improvisation, becoming an accidental communist, and Filipinos’ singing skills, among other things…. ”

Read the rest of the interview here.

Jessica Hagedorn interview in Bookslut

Jessica is publishing excerpts from The Unintended, a novel in progress, in her anthology Manila Noir. She talks about Filipino writers here.

From the interview:

“And who are some of those Filipino American writers we should be checking out?

R. Zamora Linmark’s epic and bittersweet novel Leche was published by Coffee House around the same time as Toxicology. We had a blast doing a lot of readings together this past April and May. I just finished reading a galley of Lysley Tenorio’s short story collection, Monstress, which is due out early next year. It’s a fabulous collection, really original. Another writer is Miguel Syjuco, who wrote Ilustrado, which has done really well. Miguel was my student at Columbia’s MFA Writing Program way back… about a million years ago. Also, Gina Apostol, who had one of her stories in the second Charlie Chan, is a marvelous, very experimental fiction writer. Eric Gamalinda also has a new novel in the works that I can’t wait to read. So does the brilliant and prolific Han Ong.”