Trevor J. Houser lives with his family in Seattle. He has published stories in Zyzzyva, Story Quarterly and The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, among others. Three of his stories were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His novel Pacific is about a father who is tested to the limits to save his son. Copies can be purchased HERE.
But before you buy a copy, get to know Trevor through this quirky Q+A:
If you could cook dinner for any author, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you make?
Henry Miller. Cassoulet.
What scares you the most about the writing process? How do you combat your fears?
Not having enough time.
Who is your biggest literary crush, author or character?
Lady Brett Ashley from THE SUN ALSO RISES.
What books are on your nightstand?
WHY DID I EVER, Mary Robison
THE NAKED AND THE DEAD, Norman Mailer
SPEEDBOAT, Renata Adler
THE ART OF FICTION, John Gardner
Favorite punctuation mark? Why?
A question mark can feel surprising, sometimes even interactive.
What book were you supposed to read in high school, but never did?
I was supposed to read The Grapes of Wrath, but I remember we read it so slowly I think I just gave up and skimmed the back half. And I really like Steinbeck.
What inanimate object would you thank in your acknowledgements?
My pillow. I do my best writing with my head on it.
If you could write an inspirational quote on the mirrors of aspiring writers, what would you write?
You found something you love.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It’s both. I’m energized in the moment and exhausted when I think how far away the last page is.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Wanting too much to be like your heroes and thinking it will happen the same way it did for them.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Time. Also movies.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
When I’m in the middle of writing something I find myself reading very little. I look at books for inspiration, but I don’t really enjoy them. They become little more than blueprints or maybe talismans.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
I’m not sure. Camus and Tao Lin convey very little emotion and they are two of my favorites. Of course, that doesn’t mean they didn’t/don’t feel emotions strongly as they wrote/write.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Out of college I worked at a Little, Brown where everyone wanted to be a great novelist or playwright. When people you know are working on something it makes you want to be working on something, too.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I’d like each book to stand on its own, but that’s not to say there aren’t connections I’m making subconsciously.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I’m not sure it changed my process although it probably made me write with less desperation.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Whatever a used paperback of On the Road cost.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
I wanted to hate Dave Eggers after reading the title of his first book, but that didn’t last long.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Probably my dad giving a speech. All the references and word play. The topic wasn’t exactly exciting, but he elevated it through language.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Paradise by Donald Barthelme
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
A very sad number.
What does literary success look like to you?
I want readers, critics and especially other writers to think it is good work.
What’s the best way to market your books?
Great reviews seem like the best bet.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I can trust my instincts with male characters. With female characters I need to tap into something that is mostly outside of myself.
What did you edit out of this book?
I mostly edit as I go so rarely do I have to cut out huge chunks once I’m finished.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
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