3 to 5 Questions for Authors:
In Which A Librarian asks a Talented Author a Small Number of Questions
We are lucky. We have quite a few local writers around these parts, one might even say a bevy if one were looking for an excuse to use that word. And we feel even luckier when they come to visit! In this case, popular author and Traverse City resident, Cari Noga has agreed to visit our blog and one of our book clubs!
Later this month we will be meeting with Cari to chat about her novel, Sparrow Migrations, a story about characters involved in the Miracle on Hudson plane crash in 2009. But we got a head start by asking her some questions here on Fine Print:
Q: Where do you write?
A: As the composition and members in my household have grown over the last 10 years, I’ve used four different rooms as my home office. As of the new year I’ve come full circle, back to my original location, a big open space at the top of the stairs. The walls are painted bright chartreuse, my favorite color, and it has both south and west-facing windows. My husband and I share an L-shaped desk and I have a tablet with detachable ergonomic keyboard that I use as my dedicated writing computer. While it does have an Internet connection I don’t have any social media passwords saved on it, nor email. Quiet and concentration are necessary for me to write, so I’ve found this technological nakedness important to productivity. My prime writing time is 9-11 p.m., when everyone else is asleep.
Q: Is there a sentence or phrase in Sparrow Migrations that you are most proud of? Why?
A: “Like the piping plover was a rare bird, Robby was a rare boy. But he was a boy, not a diagnosis.”
These lines belong to Sam Palmer, father to the 12-year-old autistic protagonist Robby Palmer, who comes to this realization near the end of the book. I like them for both writerly and personal reasons – the original use of simile, comparing an endangered species to a human with special needs, the spin that saves the first sentence from being a cliché. The second part sums up what Sam learns in the book and makes the point I hope readers take away. No matter what labels we assign to people, they are fundamentally people first.
Q: If you were a Dewey Decimal number, what number would you be?
A: 093 Incunabula
I Googled “Dewey Decimal” to answer this question and the spelling and pronunciation of this word made me smile, so I picked it. Then I learned that incunabula are books printed before 1501. It’s a Latin term that means “the earliest stages or first traces in the development of anything.” As Sparrow Migrations is my debut novel, my fiction is still in its early stages, so it seems quite fitting, as well as fun to say.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Re-engaging with my second novel, Pinata Tears. Like Sparrow Migrations, I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo (2013). Afterward, I changed the ending, which meant I had to change quite a bit more! I was about 80 percent done last fall when I got an offer to re-release Sparrow Migrations, which I had originally self-published. My attention turned back to that book, and I just completed revisions in February. (The new edition will be out June 23 from Lake Union Publishing, an imprint of Amazon Publishing.) The break affords me fresh eyes on the story and characters, which ultimately should be a good thing. I hope to send Pinata Tears to beta readers this spring.