The Next Big Thing: Author Interview Chain

A few weeks back I was asked by writer Joshua Gray if I wanted to answer 10 questions about Malaria: Poems. It was part of an “interview chain,” a hip new way for fellow writers to connect and spread word about their future books and projects. He wanted me to be the next link, and soon I’ll be asking Gint Aras to be the link after mine. Here goes:

(1) What is the working title of your book (or story)?

Malaria: Poems

(2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was invited in June 2011 to attend the Wellcome Trust’s Community Engagement workshop last year in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They wanted me to listen to all the scientists and global health workers speak and then to open each morning with a poem or two that captured the essence of it all. It was a fascinating experience, one I never could have expected. Through connections made there I applied for and was awarded a grant to study malaria with researchers from Mahidol University and Oxford University in order to complete a full-length book of poems.

(3) What genre does your book fall under?


(4) Which actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie rendition?

Forest Whitaker and Jessica Chastain

(5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Poet Dorianne Laux said it best: “These are poems that nestle in the space between insect and skin—mosquito and mankind—and so sing the simultaneously beautiful and destructive qualities of both.”

(6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

By an agency

(7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Six months

(8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

In Stag’s Leap, Sharon Old’s sought after each perspective of divorce. My book tackles its topic in ways similar.

(9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The country of Thailand, the people I’m fortunate enough to have in my life, the human need.

(10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

While it’s “about” malaria, the arch of the circle traces wider and wider and it’s evident that we all are malaria. It began as a book about history’s deadliest disease but upon completion I realized it’s about humans and humanity.

Check out some of the other writers who are part of the chain:

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