Tuesday, February 18, 2014

RDSP Year of the Reader: Michael Gills

Raw Dog Screaming Press has designated 2014 as The Year of the Reader, a time for us to celebrate the audience. We will be doing reader spotlights and special events throughout the year, as well as launching a Reader's Choice Award. More info here.

Michael Gills

Reader Experiences

My first book tour (WHY I LIE: Stories, University of Nevada Press, 2002) started at the Miami Book Festival where dealers stood deep in lines where writers sign and hand off books as fast as they can. The cover photo--my mama cried when she saw it--looks like Charles Manson, those eyes that follow you no matter where you go. This one lady, I signed the book, handed it to her and she said, "Mr? Is that you?" and pointed at the mean-looking bastard on the cover. Before I could answer, she said, "And tell me--just why do you lie?" All across Florida to the Georgia Literary Festival, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina, it was the same. Is that you? Why do you lie?

Another time, a reader was convinced that he was the title character of a short story called "Everything About to Fall," because they eat roadkill deer in the story, make chili out of it in the middle of the night, and that was something he always did with his daddy, made roadkill deer chili.

On the GO LOVE tour (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2011), I started out at my old alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, then drove the coast down through South Carolina to this town in Alabama where they have the world's largest peanut festival, no kidding. The college I read at there was mainly nontraditional students, a lot of them were military, and they'd been able to buy my books before I arrived. They were sweet people, and paid attention, and I read a sad part of the novel, I have to tell you. During the Q and A after the reading, this lady said, "I feel your religion in this book. It reminds me of my life and I thank you." Though I'm not sure about the religious business, it was a sweet thing for her to say, and I've been grateful ever since to her, and all the people out there who've supported me through by what I write. The rest of that tour was all magic.

Fred Chappell said White Indians (Raw Dog Screaming Press) frightened him and I asked why? He wrote me back, "what is frightening is to see a group (or worse, a horde) of people doing strange, violent things for purposes you cannot comprehend and with results that do not make practical sense..." Sounds like my kind of book.

Find Michael Gills on Amazon.

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1 comment:

  1. Isn't it amazing how readers bring their own schema into our stories? It truly shows how the writer is only one part of the finished work.

    Thank you, Michael and Mary!