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?
Treasure of the Blue Whale, Fiction, 4/1/2020 (Regal House)
- In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?
In this whimsical tale set during the Great Depression, young Connor O’Halloran offers to share a treasure he’s discovered on an isolated stretch of Northern California beach, then conspires with a handful of town leaders to save their sleepy, seaside village from financial ruin when it turns out that the treasure is not real.
- What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?
Contemporary, non-genre fiction
- What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?
“In these challenging times, Steven Mayfield’s Treasure of the Blue Whale provides an oasis of humor and comfort as it portrays a small town during the Great Depression. Mayfield beautifully depicts the town’s characters and what happens to them, creating a novel that’s charming and even laugh-out-loud funny.” —Blue Ink Review
- 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?]
Faulkner’s The Reivers meets Steinbeck’s Cannery Row
- Why this book? Why now?
The novel combines humor and pathos, as it barrels toward an ending that I promise will not make the reader feel wretched. It’s a feel-good book in a time where a lot feels bad.
- Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
I ran the projectors at the movie theater in my little home town when I was a teenager. Saw everything, got free popcorn. Best movies I knew nothing about before they ran? Carl Reiner’s Enter Laughing and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s The Honey Pot. Worst? Anything about a motorcycle gang or with the word “bikini” in the title. Oh yeah…and Lord Love A Duck. That one was really bad.
- What do you want readers to take away from the book?
That people are strongest and most resilient when they draw from a well of generosity rather than greed, decency rather than corruption, love rather than hate…also that we’re all a bit weird, and at times, totally hilarious. In fact, the generosity, decency, and love stuff sounds sort of sanctimonious, now that I think about it. Let’s go with weird and hilarious.
- What food and/or music do you associate with the book?
Interesting question. I generally associate everything with wine and Italian food. I read Chaim Potok’s The Chosen while dining on veal saltimbocca and a Nebbiolo and James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain with lasagna and a Brunello. Ironically, I read The Secret of Santa Vittoria over a burger and fries. Push to shove, Treasure of the Blue Whale is Depression-era, so spam and potatoes with bathtub gin.
- What book(s) are you reading currently?
Just finished Q & A by M. Allen Cunningham and an ARC of Dan Kopkow’s dystopian thriller, Prior Futures. Next on my list are David Roth’s The Femme Fatale Hypothesis and Eric Sean Rawson’s Banana Republic. Looking forward to the June release of Alice Kaltman’s Dawgtowne.
Learn more about Steven at his website.