Monday, June 7, 2021

David Leo Rice's Would You Rather

 Bored with the same old fashioned author interviews you see all around the blogosphere? Well, this series is a fun, new, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. Get to know the authors we love to read in ways no other interviewer has. I've asked them to pick sides against the same 20ish odd bookish scenarios....

David Leo Rice

Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?

 Definitely my feet—I need to drink plenty of coffee while writing, so it’d be pretty hard if my mouth were otherwise engaged.


Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?

 One giant bestseller, so I could live off the royalties from that and then write the rest of my books with no commercial concern at all.


Would you rather be a well-known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?

 This is a tricky one. If I can interpret the second option as “being considered a literary genius after I’m dead, but knowing now that this will happen,” then I’d be tempted by that. If not, then definitely being well-known during my lifetime.


 Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?

 Have every sentence begin with one. That might actually be exciting to try, whereas no conjunctions… I can’t see myself running with that.


Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?

I have a fear of needles, so the tattoo option would be pretty dark, but I don’t see how I could not choose it. Having it play in the background would render almost everything else impossible—unless it were low enough that I could normalize and in time start to ignore it (and perhaps I’m underestimating my own ability for normalization, as we all do on occasion… who knows what’s playing in the background right now that we’re not hearing anymore?).


Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that comprises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?

 Definitely overnight success, because that would free me up to write books I truly believed in afterwards (even if they had to be under a pseudonym, depending on how crappy my overnight success turned out to be).


Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?

  A character I hated, if I can interpret that as meaning “a character who represents a person I’d hate”… this kind of character could still be quite productive and illuminating to work with.


Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?

 Blood as ink, though only narrowly. Both would be grim, but at least my blood would more quickly replenish itself, and yield a higher volume to work with.


 Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?

 Both seem pretty close to my process already, so I could go either way. Since I have to choose, I’d have the characters escape and reenact the novel in real life. That way, I could write a new novel about this process, which would fit pretty well with the novels I’ve written so far, which all involve reenactment in different forms. It would be a nice next step, actually.


Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?

 I’d try it without the letter E, if only to partake in such a classic experiment. I don’t know much about Chicago or Miami, but it would be nice to get my head out of New York and Los Angeles for a while. And I could always include my hometown of Northampton.


 Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?

 Ban! That would be a cool distinction, and it would almost certainly guarantee a higher readership among the students. This one’s a win-win.


Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?

Hmm, I’d be kind of fascinated to hear Rand’s in-person bloviations, and to see how they compared with those in her books.


Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?

This might be the hardest one so far. No good option, as far as I can tell. I guess speaking in haiku, though it’d be a bitter pill to swallow, as I’ve always enjoyed long, drawn-out conversations. I suppose I could speak in many haikus in succession.


 Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades series or a series in a language you couldn’t read?

 Ha, also tricky! If I could slowly teach myself the language of the other series, that might be intriguing, but if I had no prior knowledge and no reference materials, that’d be pretty tough. So, 50 Shades it is. And in fairness, I’ve never read it, so maybe I’d be pleasantly surprised.


Would you rather critics rip your book apart publicly or never talk about it at all?

 I’d like to say rip it apart publicly, though I can’t tell how I’d feel if that actually happened. Still, anything’s better than total indifference.


Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?

 This is a great one! I’d go for the narrator—and maybe then have that voice narrate my Twitter feed as well, so I could ignore it.


 Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?

 Pens and paper. I do write notes and edits longhand, but the computer is the center of my process these days.


Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back?

 Lying down. I think it was Truman Capote who called himself a “fully horizontal novelist,” and said that he needed to be “lying and sipping, sipping and lying,” in order to compose. If it worked for him, I’m game to try it.


Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?

 Naked. You only live once, right?


David Leo Rice is a writer from Northampton, MA, currently living in NYC. He’s the author of the novels A Room in Dodge City, A Room in Dodge City Vol. 2, ANGEL HOUSE, and The New House, coming in 2022. His debut story collection, Drifter, is out this June. He’s online at:

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