April 28, 2011

Patrick DeWitt Interview

Patrick DeWitt's new novel, "The Sisters Brothers" is a great read.  It came out earlier this week, and I recommend it highly.  The dialouge alone will blow your mind.

I interviewed Pat for the Rumpus.  The whole interview is here.  I loved his answer to this one:

Rumpus: Setting is an important part of this book. Gold Rush San Francisco is such a vibrant, raucous place. How did you research that era? And more importantly, how did you write a book that didn’t draw attention to its research? Didn’t pummel the reader with peripheral facts?

DeWitt: I wrote a book that didn’t draw attention to its research by not doing very much research in the first place. I looked things up as I needed them, but scouring around for facts is not my idea of a good time. One thing I did do, which probably doesn’t pass for research, is that I used old photographs as prompts. This is how the character of Hermann Kermit Warm came about. I cut out a picture of a prospector from the yard sale book I mentioned earlier, tacked this to the wall in my office, and made up a person based on the image. Anyway, my not having firsthand experience of what I was writing about wasn’t that much of a handicap because character and personality took precedence over setting detail from the start.