Hey, all! A few months ago, I posted a review of Brian Kimberling’s new novel, Snapper, which, by the way, is TOTALLY excellent. And it comes out the day after my birthday. So for my birthday, you all have to buy his book. I’m serious.
Well, when I was setting up the interview, Kimberling’s publicity agent was all, “Oh, do you wanna do a feature on this guy?” And I was all, “FOR SURE. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.” I might have frightened her a bit, but she still passed my questions on to Mr. Kimberling, and the result is the following article. Enjoy!
Brian Kimberling is no stranger to Hoosiers and their ways, as a native of southern Indiana himself. But only he could come up with Snapper, a book many are calling “a love letter to Indiana” that makes the state as interesting and vibrantly alive for those who don’t live here and love it as it is for those who do.
Kimberling spent the early part of his life in Evansville, IN, and he studied birds as a research assistant for two years. Since then, he has lived in the Czech Republic, Turkey, and Mexico, and he currently resides in England. However, his heart has always remained in Indiana; he says he’d love to have a “quaint log cabin” in Brown County.
Kimberlings notes that though Snapper is considered a love letter, “not all love letters are complimentary,” and he is fully aware that some Hoosiers won’t like it. Kimberling loves his home state, but he doesn’t romanticize it; Snapper is a very realistic view of the state. Each chapter is a snapshot of a different aspect, all taken by the main character, and not necessarily in chronological order. Like his creator, Nathan Lochmueller studies birds, and is down-to-earth, matter-of-fact, and so startlingly funny that you’ll laugh out loud before you realize why. And Indiana doesn’t just serve as the setting for this story; it’s a main character.
Here are some questions Kimberling answered for me recently:
Q: Which authors inspired your own writing style? What do you like to read?
A: Katherine Anne Porter and Peter Taylor are like literary Mom and Dad for me. Frank O’Connor is a fabulous uncle I used to spend summers with. J.F. Powers, Lorrie Moore, and Eudora Welty are all very important to me. The common thread here is short stories.
Q:What’s your favorite kind of bird?
A: The wood thrush, also Audubon’s and Thoreau’s favorite, I think. They didn’t know, however, that an accurate transcription of the wood thrush’s song runs CLICK CLICK BRIAN K! HOO HOO. No matter what your field guide says to the contrary.
Q:What part of the writing process do you most enjoy? Least enjoy?
A:I go for a long walk, frame a scene in my head, and write it down with a pen and paper at the kitchen table. That’s the fun part. Typing it up later is dull. Although my least favorite part is when I discover that 5,000 or 15,000 words don’t really work and I better start again (like walking in the dark toward a door and snubbing your nose on a wall).
Q:What genre would you call SNAPPER? Do you consider yourself a genre writer? If not, what other genres do you plan to explore? If so, what do you like about this particular genre?
A:I’d call it literary fiction, and I’d call myself a literary fiction writer. I can’t see myself moving into any other recognisable genre. I suppose I like it because it contains everything that won’t sit comfortably in some other genre.
Kimberling’s publicity tour for Snapper will make two stops in his home state. He’ll be in his hometown of Evansville at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 22, at the Barnes & Noble on Green River Road. He’ll be in Broad Ripple Village on Tuesday, April 23, the day the book releases for sale, at 6 p.m., at Big Hat Books on Westfield Blvd.