"In every group of writers happy exploring the infinite artistic possibilities of domestic realism or classic murder-mystery or sensawonder SF, there's always some odd duck who can't resist changing things up a little. There's nothing new about the desire to experiment. The themes and conventions of the modern English novel were hardly established when Lawrence Sterne plowed right through them with Tristram Shandy, which remains one of the strangest novels in the English language. Not remarkably, Tristram Shandy has few literary heirs (unless one could say that anybody writing a completely weird-ass, crazy, genre-blending novel is writing in his tradition). Nor does Ulysses or Jacques et Son Maitre. But other artistic experiments, considered radical when they were written, have established genres on their own. Shakespeare's mixing of the tropes and conventions of tragedy and comedy revolutionized modern drama, for instance. And (on a less exalted plane) the humble fairy-tale remix, mined by writers as disparate as Sylvia Plath, Tanith Lee, and Angela Carter, fostered by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow's Fairy Tale series, has grown into a lively and diverse genre, with camps on both the literary and popular fiction side of the art divide. In short, blending genres is how art grows. We're just pointing it out and talking about it in a slightly different way."
"Historically, hard times tend to foster conservatism in the arts. And the uncertainty of how the internet is going to impact the publishing and music industries is making it even worse. If a big company doesn't know how to market something, they won't buy it. Which leads to endless iterations of teen vampire romances, mystical conspiracy thrillers, heroic fantasies, and chick lit novels with pink covers. It also leads to worthy fiction that is none of these things being packaged as if it were, which leads to puzzled and often hostile reviews, and to readers who don't know where to look for the kind of fiction they like especially if they like fiction that doesn't hew to the most popular forms and conventions. In this market, Shakespeare probably wouldn't be able to get a play produced, nor Franz Kafka sell a story to a major magazine."
"I don't think genre is something anyone can escape (even literary artists who pretend they don't work in one). It's very fundamental to how humans perceive the world, I think: categories and taxonomies are how we structure information. It's crucial to our creative process. I see the purpose of defining the cross-genre impulse as 'interstitial' as largely one of pollination. Of getting out of the constantly rehashed and well-plowed ideas in our most comfortable categories and exploring how others see things. My story cross-pollinates with a great deal of non-fiction, mostly of the political, polemical variety. I could never have written that story four years ago, before I started reading that sort of work. I became so immersed in it that, eventually, that story became something that I not only could write, but felt utterly compelled to create."
"I was initially skeptical of creating a term to categorize the uncategorizable, to be honest. It was only after I began to think about the term and its openness that I started to understand how apt it is. By calling attention to the wilderness that exists between conventional genres (such as the focus on the observable, material world in realism), a reader can locate a kind of writing for which they are being asked to hold no expectations whatsoever. Interstitial is a term that informs readers of a book's content the same way that the 'Romance' label signals sex, adventure, women who get their dream man, etc. As a term, Interstitial tells readers to expect the unexpected."
"Like lots of readers, I'm often in the mood for a particular category, and it's good I can always find what I want. But just as often, or even more often, well, actually most of the time, I'm looking for a peek into a very different mind from mine. I want to be surprised. I want to read something only that writer could have written given there is no one else standing where she's standing at any particular time."
"I recall the AP test in American History had a section called a DBQ, or 'Data-Based Question' that involved dozens of only tangentially-related historical documents from a single era, and you had to use them as your primary sources to form an argument in an essay. In some sense, I guess I decided I wanted to create a fictional DBQ with the same sort of parameters find your own story (and argument) among the pieces."
"I believe that the story came from a series of events that took place over a period of a week a dream, a conversation, a daydream, a visit to a hotel and a memory. It struck me finally at the end of the week that all of these things were related in that they all had a religious basis to them. I'm not involved with organized religion in any way in my life now, but I was brought up Catholic and the whole experience impressed me with its weirdness when I was a kid."
"To me interstitial writing is like making a quilt. It's scraps of things that might not fit anywhere else put together to make something whole. In interstitial writing, I think things come at you from a slightly different direction. It could mix up different genres, or forms, or it could reinvent something within in one genre."
How to Order Interfictions 2
Interfictions 2 is now available from Small Beer Press, Powell's and Amazon, and via IndieBound. The book was published on November 3rd, 2009 from Small Beer Press and was named one of Amazon.com's Top 10 Books of 2009: Science Fiction & Fantasy.