08 setembro 2015

Interview: Josh Malerman, author of "Bird Box"

His debut book, "Bird Box", a tense and terrifying psychological thriller, which explores the very essence of fear, has made a huge success around the world, including Brazil. Josh Malerman is one of the authors who will be in the XVII Bienal do Livro in Rio de Janeiro, on September 13.

The blog did an exclusive interview with the author, where issues such as future works, personal life and some of the book construction details were addressed.

You can check the interview below:

Hey Josh! First of all, thank you for that! It's a pleasure talking to you. Let's talk about "Bird Box". It's your first novel published. How do you feel about that? Did you imagine all this success?

I feel many things about it at once; joy, fear, relief, cosmic confusion, and gratitude. To say that I “foresaw” this happening is only slightly wrong; I was just delusional enough to think that this would happen, though I was also content with living with that delusion and nothing more. I used to interview myself, stage fake meetings with imaginary editors, and count invisible books I had written on the shelves. As if they were published and doing well. So… when all these great things started happening for Bird Box, I was partially ready, but in a lunatic’s way. 

"Bird Box" is different from everything that i ever read... From where the inspiration came for write it? Is there any book that specifically inspired you?

It spawned from an image, really. A mother and two children traveling a river blindfolded. That was frightening to me. There was something darkly exciting about it. I started writing it and understood early on that they were fleeing something. But fleeing what? Well, I’ve long been scared of the concept of infinity, the fact there exists concepts our minds can’t fathom. That’s scary to me. So… I decided Malorie was fleeing Infinity, or something like it, and that felt right. Felt like the exact thing she would be running from.

The horror genre has always been of your interest?

Oh yeah. Forever. My love affair with horror started when I was twelve or thirteen, like most boys and girls, I’d guess. Some books were too freaky for me to read back then and I’d make it a few pages and have to stop. I think I fell in love with horror once I understood that it allowed you, as a writer and a reader, to be a kid forever. We’re not supposed to believe these things are possible as adults, and therefore they should cease to scare us. But… if we do allow ourselves to still get scared… would that mean we can remain children forever?

Your book tell us about how dangerous is to open the eyes and see... If you had to lose one of your senses, what would it be? Why?

If I had the choice… I’d lose my sense of smell. I can’t imagine going without sight or sound and taste is probably the most fun of all. So I’d lose my sense of smell. I suppose that could put me in danger of being a poor houseguest, though.

I read a post in your fanpage on Facebook where you talk about write a book and can't see how to finish it. And you told that this happened with you. How was the feeling when you finally get it? What you have to say for those who are going through it? 

It remains the single greatest sensation I’ve ever felt. To see the ending, to know that I was going to get there. I stood up in my seat and pointed at the pages and exclaimed, “I’m going to finish! I’m really going to finish this one!” I think I learned that day that it’s okay to finish the book in any way possible. Is one ending any better than another? Maybe. Maybe not. So, once you establish the fact that numerous endings could work… pick one. I have a lot to say on the subject of inspiration and why not to wait for it, and I hope I get to talk to a lot readers/writers about that very thing in Brazil.

You are part of a band, the High Strung. How much influence to do music has about to write books?

It used to be that the short story ideas became songs but lately I’ve been writing short stories instead. And loving it. The real influence music has had on the books is the rhythm, the pacing, and the idea that it’s okay to riff off an idea, to kinda improvise, while writing a novel. Just like you would with your band mates on stage.

How do you reconcile your musician side with the writer side?

That’s easy because they’re both madly in love. Lately I haven’t been writing as many songs. I think that’s okay. But I also know it’s because the book side is very exciting. But then again, the book side has always been very exciting for me. So… maybe it’s just a matter of feeling more like myself between the pages of a book right now. It’s more where my personality is at.

Do you always knew it would be a writer? When this desire appeared?

I think so. Yeah. I tried writing a novel when I was ten years old. Then tried five more throughout the years until I had my big breakthrough. My first finished draft. For no good reason I always had faith I’d finish one, then another, and so on. I’m not sure what propelled me in that way, what caused me to think that way, but it turns out I was right to think it. I haven’t been able to slow down since.

Are you already working in a new project? Maybe a continuation of Bird Box...

Next book, but not a sequel. I may return to Malorie’s world one day… but not yet. Just too many ideas, so many ideas, that to remain with one for a few years, a couple books, wouldn’t feel right. That said, I do wonder what Gary’s up to. I think about him often.

What do you like to do in your free time?

There isn’t much of that these days! I love to read of course and watch Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I shoot baskets with my friends. See live music. Make movies. It’s really all art all the time in this house. And I love it that way.

What advices do you have for aspiring writers?

Well, I think this sort of thing is best answered in person, one on one. But there are a couple things I think of often: 1) don’t be afraid to write a bad book. What sounds better, having a rough draft you can later fix, or having no draft at all? And 2) don’t wait for inspiration. Inspiration is a monster who tricks you into waiting for him. We’re all born inspired. If you’re in love? Love. If you’re not? Find what you love.

You'll be in the Bienal do Livro, in Rio de Janeiro, in September. This will be your first time in Brazil? what do you expect of it?

First time out of the United States (except for Canada.) I’m crazy excited. What do I expect? I keep imagining late nights with live music and tons of readers/writers to talk to. I hope it ends up going that way. Let’s talk too much, dance too much, sleep too little.

Do you know any word in portuguese? What do you know about Brazil?


I know no Portuguese at all. Which may make for some fun conversations. 

Do you have anything to say for your brazilian readers? And for those who don't know your work yet? 

I do, yes. Please know that you’ve taken a young man’s dream and helped turn it into a very real thing. That you’ve given me a gift, the absolute ultimate gift, of reading the scary story I so wanted you to read. It’s hard for me to articulate just how much it all means to me other than to say, the reaction from Brazil (the emails, the letters, the chats) has changed my life, added a brightness, turned on a light that I didn’t even know was in my house to begin with.

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