I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of place in writing and the importance of emotion in photography and art. As a visually-oriented person, I often see strong images in my head while writing and like to give readers a really strong sense of where they are in a poem or essay by adding vibrant, relatable details. There’s nothing like traveling to new and unfamiliar places to heighten one’s awareness of place. All the details pop. It’s like the whole world is new again when we’re strangers in a strange land. One of my favorite writers who also inspired me to travel more extensively and consider details about place and time in my writing is Jonathan Starke. I’m excited to share here that his new novel, “You’ve Got Something Coming,” Winner of the Black Heron Press Award for Social Fiction, is now available for pre-order.
I asked Jonathan a few questions recently about the book and the process that he graciously allowed me to share here. I hope you’ll grab a copy of the novel and check out his website with links to essays, fiction & editing services.
GW: Congrats on your upcoming award-winning novel! What inspired you to write this novel, this story?
JS: Thank you, Gina! I was showering and saw this image in my mind of a fading boxer leaning against a brick wall outside a children’s home during the dead of winter. He had two used hearing aids in his pocket and was blowing into his hands. I was trying to figure out what the heck he was doing there. From that came the novel. I’m also always inspired and intrigued by people who commit to difficult mental and physical passions and become obsessed. I’m drawn to people on the fringes of society who have little but push to make a better life, the down-and-outers who aren’t often seen.
GW: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
JS: I’m happy with how I’ve pursued creative writing and wouldn’t change how I’ve gone about it or give myself any different advice because I always worked hard and persevered even when others said I couldn’t do it or wasn’t writing with the trends. I believed in my voice, my ability, and what I was doing, and I knew that would show through. So much of this endeavor is just finding the right audience or the one person (other than yourself) who believes in you.
GW: What is the first book that made you cry?
JS: Of Mice and Men.
GW: What is something about you that people might find surprising?
JS: Though I often write about boxing (and used to box), war, and other brutal subjects, I truly hate violence. It’s hard to explain the beauty I see in boxing or feel when doing it; there’s something about the meditative quality and the movement that can only be experienced.
GW: What are you working on now?
JS: Since writing You’ve Got Something Coming I’ve put writing aside for a while and am focusing on reading books I’ve never read, many of which I believe will make me a better, stronger, and more capable person. I have a goal of reading a book a week in 2020.