Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Q&A with Chris Offutt

From my Q&A with Chris Offutt, author of The Killing Hills:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

It’s hard to speculate on the effect a short phrase will have on a stranger. People often ignore “No Trespassing” or “Emergency Parking Only” signs. Many poems are composed of short phrases but they have a cumulative impact. Titles are difficult in general—after the work to make a book, a writer is then expected to distill its essence down to a few words. Frankly, I’m terrible at titles. In this case, my wife suggested the title because it refers to a conversation in the book and it has a slight rhyme.

What's in a name?

For a protagonist, I tend to go with a one syllable first name because it’s quick and easy to type. The last name “Hardin” was my favorite teacher in elementary school. I also like it because, in the speech pattern of eastern Kentucky, it sounds like...[read on]
Visit Chris Offutt's website.

Q&A with Chris Offutt.

--Marshal Zeringue