Get to Know Kevin Brockmeier, Six Bridges Featured Author
Tell us briefly about your book.
My latest is a collection of one hundred very short ghost stories called The Ghost Variations. It was published, after many delays, at the height of the pandemic.
What motivated you to write it?
My love for the flash fiction form, along with the desire to complete a pattern of one hundred stories, and to haunt it.
What kind of research went into your book?
It’s not the kind of book that demanded much rigorous research, but it’s saturated by my years and years of reading, along with a whole lot of thinking about time, fantasy, luck, animals, metaphysics, and the afterlife.
What was your favorite part of writing this book?
I dreamed one of the stories—dreamed it sentence by sentence—which is something that’s never happened to me before.
What are you reading now?
On my stack right now are a novel by Éric Chevillard, just translated from the French, called The Valiant Little Tailor; a forty-year-old science fiction novel by Donald Kingsbury called Courtship Rite; a biography of the British musician Mark Hollis called A Perfect Silence; and a memoir about the movie Predator (yes, you read that correctly) called Predator: A Memoir, a Movie, an Obsession by Ander Monson. So far, the best book I’ve read this year is a newly translated novel from the 1930s called Yesterday by the Chilean writer Juan Emar.
What does it mean to you to be promoting your book as a local author?
What I appreciate the most is being in the company of so many other local authors, like (this year) Eli Cranor and Ayana Gray, who are helping to show the world the ongoing vibrancy of Arkansas literature.
Are you excited to see any other authors at Six Bridges Book Festival? Who/why?
I have a good dozen panels on my schedule. Among the ones I’m most looking forward to are GennaRose Nethercott and Annie Hartnett‘s on Saturday, October 22, and Lan Samantha Chang and Oscar Hokeah‘s on Saturday, October 29, because their books have brought me so much pleasure. I’m also excited to be reading alongside the wonderful fiction writer Kim Fu at my own session.
Rumor is, you have presented at every Festival; what keeps bringing you back?
It is, quite simply, the most reliably exciting weekend (or, this time around, two weekends) of the year for me. I love the opportunity to meet other writers, from both Arkansas and elsewhere, and to share the stage with some of them. Also, I’ve been grateful for the chance the Festival gives me every year to present my work to a local audience.
Are you working on anything new?
I am. The last thing I finished was the introduction to a forthcoming story collection by one of my favorite writers, Walter Tevis, the author of The Queen’s Gambit, The Hustler, and The Man Who Fell to Earth. I’m hoping to finish writing a new story for my panel at the Festival, but to be honest, I’m having trouble making my way through the thicket of it.
Do you have a favorite ghost story?
There are so many that I can’t reduce the list to just one for you; you can, however, find various top ten lists on my website, kevinbrockmeier.com, among which are my ten favorite books about ghosts, short stories about ghosts, and songs about ghosts. I can tell you my single favorite movie about ghosts, though, which is an Irish film from 2009, The Eclipse, directed by Conor McPherson.