Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kristine Ong Muslim, We Bury the Landscape

AUTHOR: Kristine Ong Muslim
BOOK TITLE: We Bury the Landscape
PUBLISHER: Queen’s Ferry Press

Please tell us about yourself. I have been writing and publishing actively for years.  My stories and poems have appeared in hundreds of literary journals, genre magazines, and anthologies. I live in the Philippines.  I am an eldest child. And I love to garden.

Tell us your latest news. On April 20, my flash fiction piece appears in the latest issue of Ellipsis. I also have a poem in Inkscrawl,  a poem in The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry from Aqueduct Press, flash fiction in Dadaoism (An Anthology) from Chômu Press, and stories in two anthologies edited by Filipinos.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? The first time that I got paid well for my writing – that was the first time I felt like a real writer. It was the literary journal, Turnrow, many years ago.

What inspired you to write your first book? My now out-of-print first book is a collection of poems. The publisher folded years ago. We Bury the Landscape is my first fiction book. It consists of 100 mini-stories about 100 different paintings and photographs. The bulk of the inspiration came from Edward Hirsch’s “Edward Hopper and the House by the Railroad.” I discussed my research notes for the book in the Necessary Fiction blog.

What books have most influenced your life most? Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles.” Nothing comes close to it.

What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it? I am currently reading Theodore Carter’s first book, “The Life Story of a Chilean Sea Blob.” I am on the third story. What’s amazing about the stories is that they incite nervous laughter. The well-written stories are absurd and at times, hilarious, but deep down, I find them to be incredibly disturbing.    

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? He is not a new author, but recently I’m drawn to the work of Michael Meyerhofer. I “discovered” his writing after I read his fine analysis of James Valvis’ poem.

What are your current projects? I am working simultaneously on two book manuscripts this year. They are both collections of interrelated stories.  

Do you ever have problems with writers block?  If so how do you get through it? To deal with writers block, I go ahead and just force myself to write. I never had any serious problems with writers block. All my long dry spells of zero output had nothing to do with writers block; I was simply busy doing other things.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing? I read a lot. I read like crazy. In fact, I read more than I write. I tailor my writing hours so I am left with more hours to read.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about his work? As far back as I can remember, I have always loved Ray Bradbury. All his stories have the air of “I love what I’m doing right now, and whatever I’ve left on the page for you to read is a product of what truly makes me happy!” That’s how I want to write.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? The writing part was relatively easy because I enjoyed it. The most difficult part was to get the whole manuscript published. Fortunately, it did not take a year for me to do that. I had already moved on to another project during the proofreading stages with Queen’s Ferry Press.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? A ludicrous yet well-executed idea is always bound to get published.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Write really well, and write something new. I am incredibly old-fashioned, and I believe in hard work. I believe in a writer’s long and tortuous publication history. I also believe in the value of a community of writers. My advice: write the best you can and support other authors whose work you believe mirrors what you want to accomplish in your writing.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention? My poetry chapbook, “Doll Plagues, Doll Lives,” is forthcoming from Thunderclap Press this year. So is my full-length poetry collection, “Grim Series,” from Popcorn Press.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them? My publisher is Queen’s Ferry Press. I found their listing on Duotrope.  I wrote a short query to accompany the manuscript, waited, and that was it.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

Short Excerpt or blurb:

We Bury the Landscape is a collection of 100 little stories about 100 different paintings and other works of art. It is a carnival of the absurd and the macabre -- a carnivorous sunflower, a boy with a propeller head, and a boy who is forever wedged in the floor of his bedroom. Read the complaints of our dear Aunt Mimi who is addicted to cosmetic surgery. Feel sorry for a resurrected minotaur.
Or look at some online excerpts: Revenge of the Goldfish │The City is Landing 
Finally, here are teasers from Mixer Publishing: Bug Chairs The Village of the Mermaids

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