Juice Spot Interview - Cult of Quick Repair
Dede Crane spills the juice behind her book
Reviewed by: Juice Spot Interview
What was the inspiration for the concept of the book?
The initial inspiration for this collection was simply to work on my craft after having begun my writing venture with a novel. And once I began thinking about stories, they came fairly fast and furious. I was at that turning point age, between 40 and 45, which I experienced as the maturity of youth and the baby stage of old age. So it was a time of transition and of saying good-bye to things like a hearty sex drive, flirting (which only looks sad after 45), and being able to multi-task.
How long did it take you to write and revise The Cult of Quick Repair?
About 5 years. The revisions are only over when the manuscript goes to print. In fact several of the stories changed dramatically in those couple months before printing. Is it more difficult to write a series of short stories than one longer novel? All writing is hard though I find novels harder because of their length and scope and the demand to maintain the tension for 400 pages, weave a multitude of plot lines together sensibly and develop the depth of character necessary to sustain a novel.
The short stories you include in your novel are quite diverse. Where do you get the inspiration for all the different types of stories?
Inspiration comes from everywhere: having an ultrasound, seeing a badly staged ballet performance, witnessing a friend's last moments, depression, memories, things my mother-in-law said, watching hockey players' helmet-cracking post goal hugs, etc. etc. Whatever sticks in my craw inspires curiosity about why it sticks in my craw. Writing about it unsticks it.
What types of research did you have to do in order to get inside the head of all the different characters?
I ask questions but mostly I make it up. That's the freedom of fiction.
Do you feel that you identify with any, or all, of the characters in the book?
A couple of the stories come out of direct experience. I did perform in a women's medium security prison once as the principal dancer of this ballet company in New Jersey for example. And the story of the child in What's Handed Down is something I did as a child and the mother is my mother, etc. But otherwise the characters are composites and figments of my personal expression.
Your background is quite diverse, including being a professional ballet dancer and choreographer, and studying Buddhist psychology and psychokinetics. How does this background play in to your writing? How did you make the leap to be an author, or was it always 'in the blood',?
I dreamed of being a writer. But when my body could no longer dance I needed an outlet for my creative energy. I was a professional daydreamer too, always had a strong imagination and a sense of drama. To write, I get a good daydream going and write it down.
What author(s) inspired you to become a writer?
Though I love a lot of 19th century writers, I read mostly modern writers. So I'd say Jim Harrison first off because he writes from his daydreams and desires, then Ann Patchett for her musicality, Ian McKewan for psychological precision, Bill Gaston for freshness of language, Patricia Young for a certain magical dimension on the page, Steven Galloway for capturing subtle emotion, Lisa Moore for breaking writing rules, and on and on. But all of the above for story. I like getting lost in a good story first and foremost.
What were the last 3 books you read, and would you please Spill the Juice on them?
Steven Galloway's The Cellist of Sarayevo an absolutely brilliant, moving, and timely story. Set during the seige of Sarayevo, the setting easily feels like one's backyard and each character we can understand as us. A dramatic story that never goes over the top emotionally. This stupendous book is an honest, vivid and real account of what it feels like to be human. The Boleyn Inheritance - forgot the author's name right now. This is the sequel to The Other Boleyn Girl which I didn't read but saw the movie with my daughter. I like the occasional historical novel but this one is dully written, repetitive, the language flat. That said it is interesting for its historical details and for giving a sense of the depth of insanity of King Henry whose unchecked tyranny and self-serving machinations seems not unlike the Bush administration. I say this because my non-fiction read is Al Gore's brilliantly researched and written book The Assault on Reason which talks about how democracy thrives and has thrived throughout American history and how it has sometimes gone off track and been corrupted. He reveals in a mindful, non-vengeful, factual way how the Bush Administration is making history in its degree of corruption, in undermining the principles put forth in the Constitution and for its unchecked King Henryesque despotism. A must read for anyone interested in the future of this planet. Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones - A book I'd avoided when it splashed across America, but we'd just survived a house fire and I was happy to read about a shock worse than my own. If you haven't read it, it's a touching account of a family's struggle after the loss of their daughter to a murder/rape. The great twist is that it's told from the heavenly point of view of the dead 15 year old which is what keeps it from being maudlin. It has an honesty about it that is very moving and is good for releasing emotional tension.