Editor’s Note: This exchange is part of a series of brief interviews with emerging writers of recent or forthcoming books. If you enjoyed it, please visit other interviews in the I’ve Got Questions feature.
- What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?
The title is Too Early to Know Who’s Winning, and it’s a novel published by Black Rose Writing, launching 23 March 2023.
- In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?
This is a tale of liberal women nearing retirement during the Trump presidency. The protagonist, Jacobine Flaa, is a professor of immigration history, and she finds that not only is she barraged by daily strange and upsetting world news (political, ecological, public safety), but her personal life is now filled with health concerns, the deaths of friends and relatives, and questions of how to handle an increasingly tricky friendship.
- What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?
It’s literary fiction and since it’s about women’s lives, it can also be considered women’s fiction.
- What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?
It’s getting some expressions of delight, which is a pleasant surprise when so much of the novel’s subject matter is grim. According to debut novelist Kathy Anderson, “One of the many pleasures of this novel lies in its razor-sharp and very funny observations of contemporary life—Midwestern marriages, Amish chickens, museum docent rebellions, the plethora of festival weekends, medicated students—to name a few.” Similarly, author Peter De Lissovoy says “I as a male reader who enjoyed the wry turns of Cinda’s, Kerry’s, and Jacobine’s existences recommend this novel to other male readers who enjoy a dry wit, and I am certain that female readers will find it a hoot.”
- What book or books is yours comparable to or a cross between? [Is your book like Moby Dick or maybe it’s more like Frankenstein meets Peter Pan?]
Rachel Cusk’s Transit and Christine Smallwood’s The Life of the Mind are two that come to mind.
- Why this book? Why now?
We’re no longer in the midst of the Trump presidency, but the possibility of a Trump encore looms, as does climate crisis. Besides, most of us have a friend or two about whom we care but who sometimes drives us a little batty.
- Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
I must confess that this book was not the best job I’ve ever had—it was more of a purgative experience. That means that writing my other books and novel manuscripts constitute the best job I’ve had!
- What do you want readers to take away from the book?
I hope that readers will be reminded that while there’s much that’s troubling out there, each of us can take action to make the world a better place, and that hope, patience, and a sense of humor are key as we get older.
- What food and/or music do you associate with the book?
Jacobine lives in the Midwest and occasionally attends events at the local German club, so German-American food such as schnitzels and red cabbage play a role in the story. That means the sound of an oompah band. Jacobine and her friend Cinda also go to some weekend festivals that offer bluegrass and medieval hurdy-gurdy.
- What book(s) are you reading currently?
The TBR stack looms. I just began Delphic Oracle, U.S.A., by fellow Regal House author Steven Mayfield, and As Far as You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back, by fellow Black Rose author Alle C. Hall. There’s more, of course. Too much more!
Learn more about Karla on her website.