Across the Pond : Q&A with Tristan J. Tarwater

I recently read and reviewed Botanica Blues by Tristan J. Tarwater (I loved it by the way) and thought it might be nice to ask her a few questions to share with you. So here you are.

Q: I love to know the inner workings of writer’s minds – where did the idea for Botanica Blues come from? 

A. The idea for Botanica Blues kind of stemmed from another story I started before it that deals partially with the aftermath of BB. I wanted to write about how that happened. I kind of have this spot in my brain dedicated to Puerto Ricans in the Lovecraft Mythos and the first line of the story came up and I thought, ‘How is that NOT some kind of wish for the Elder Gods to consume the Island of Enchantment?’ The rest just kind of came to me, the voice, the tense and I came up with Luis.

Q. The way Quintana not only photographs the crime scene but also draws what he sees – “Drawing makes it stick more” – is that something you do? To me it feels like when you’re a kid and writing down words multiple times to learn to spell them. 

A. I do write things down. If I write a grocery list, if it’s written I can probably grab most of what’s on the list from memory. I type things to remember them too but I still keep paper journals for notes, maps, things like that.

Q. Botanica Blues has quite an ending. Have you thought what might happen beyond that? Is there a plan for another short story? 

A. I have ideas for a few short stories, set before and after. I like Yang a lot and there’s obviously a lot of weird stuff going on that must be dealt with, both setting up for Botanica Blues and in the aftermath.

Q. You have a cat, is that a help or a hindrance when you write? 

A. HA! My cats actually don’t mess with me much when I’m writing. My office is in the kitchen and I keep my desk pretty messy. There are way more comfy spots in my house, though sometimes our boy cat will hide under the desk. They tend to hang out by the windows and my office is in a corner with mostly inorganic light. The way it should be.

Q. What’s the one question you really wanted me to ask? 

A. Hmm. Dang, that is hard. Maybe why does the Lovecraftian Mythos appeal to you, why Lovecraft? And I think the idea of destruction through discovery is interesting to explore. There are gaping holes in his own world that are fun and terrible to fall into and expand upon. Clawing at the limits of human understanding and doing it through the eyes of more people, people with different backgrounds than the typical Lovecraftian protagonist, with the amazing glut of knowledge we have…and knowing there’s still more out there we don’t know? It’s exciting.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about Tristan, her life & words. If you haven’t picked up Botanica Blues yet here’s your chance to win an e-copy all for yourself. 

To enter: make a comment below and next Friday (6th July) we’ll pick someone at random to receive an e-version of Botanica Blues.

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