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 Distance of Mercy; fiction; Unsolicited Press, February 9, 2021
- In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?
An Austrian university student raised in postwar Vienna betrays her father by studying the violin in Chicago in the late 60s. There, she meets an African-American woman and the two develop an unconventional friendship, one that gives them some of what war stole from them.
- What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?
- What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?
“I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. to finish reading it.”
- 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?]
The screenplay I wrote adapted from this book was described as Brooklyn meets The Pianist. (I’m beyond honored by the slightest comparison to these stories.)
- Why this book? Why now?
It’s a story of a child’s buried grief that wouldn’t let go of me. And why now? Because the lingering effects of war and racial prejudice on families and individuals still exist today.
- Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
Working at the Chicago International Film Festival in the midst of filmmakers
- What do you want readers to take away from the book?
A little more empathy for others, especially when we can’t understand their past
- What food and/or music do you associate with the book?
Music of Schubert; linzertorte and American diner food
- What book(s) are you reading currently?
Coventry by Rachel Cusk
Learn more about Shelly at her website.