Thursday, May 11, 2023

The 40 But 10 Interview Series: Luanne Castle


I had decided to retire the literary Would You Rather series, but didn't want to stop interviews on the site all together. Instead, I've pulled together 40ish questions - some bookish, some silly - and have asked authors to limit themselves to answering only 10 of them. That way, it keeps the interviews fresh and connectable for all of us!

Joining us today is Luanne Castle. Luanne's poetry chapbook Our Wolves was recently published by Alien Buddha Press. Her collection Rooted and Winged (Finishing Line Press) was published fall 2022. Kin Types, a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Her first collection of poetry, Doll God (Aldrich), won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Poetry. Luanne’s Pushcart and Best of the Net-nominated poetry and prose have appeared in Copper Nickel, American Journal of Poetry, Pleiades, River Teeth, TAB, Verse Daily, Saranac Review, and other journals. 

Describe your book in three words.

picking apart mythologies


What are some of your favorite books and/or authors?

The poetry of Sylvia Plath, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Diane Seuss, Audre Lorde, John Donne, Natasha Trethewey, Linda Hogan, Victoria Chang. Um, I better stop, but there are more. My favorite novel is Harriet Arnow’s The Dollmaker. In memoir, The Liar’s Club, Reading Lolita in Tehran, A Girl Named Zippy, and many others.


What is your favorite book from childhood?

Sung Under the Silver Umbrella was a children’s poetry anthology that introduced me to poems I loved to read aloud. Jo’s Boys, by Louisa May Alcott, was my favorite children’s novel.


Are you a toilet paper over or under kind of person?

Years ago, when toilet paper often had designs printed on it, it became clear that the paper goes over. However, my husband insists that it goes under. This is because once he takes a position he sticks with it, even when proven wrong. So I go along with this one because it is, after all, only toilet paper. He thinks he wins every time he enters the bathroom, never noticing the bigger issues I win. This is why we’ve been married for a very long time.


What would you do if you could live forever?

I probably wouldn’t do much. Or I would lie on the couch with my cats and read all day. Since I know that my time is limited—more limited with every day—I have motivation to accomplish my goals. If I had all the time in the world, my motivation would disappear.


If you could remove one color from the world, what it would be and why?

If I removed one color, the color wheel would disintegrate and we would live in a monochromatic world. Each color depends on other colors for their existence. So I would never do that. However, if I could remove one food, I would. It would be lima beans.


What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

I wish I knew how fast my life would pass, that it doesn’t hurt to ask, and that it’s ok to be a late bloomer.


Do you DNF books?

Olive Kitteridge. I just could not get into the characters of that book. I like to read mysteries for relaxation, and sometimes I will read a cozy that is so flat and mindless that I see no point in continuing it.


What are your bookish pet peeves?

I am not saying that a writer should never edit their own book. However, most writers would benefit from hiring a good editor. I’ve read arguments against that because of the cost versus what profit the writer will net. Who cares? If you are asking other people—strangers, most often—to spend time reading your book, make sure it has a minimum of grammar and punctuation errors, please. I feel disrespected when I read a novel with more than a handful of these kinds of mistakes. If you have so little respect for your readers, then why should they respect your writing?


Are you a book hoarder or a book unhauler?

Unfortunately, I am the former. I am hoarding my childhood books, my children’s books, my mother’s childhood books, my grandmother’s books, and yes, my great-grandfather’s books from the 19th century. I hoard the books I used for teaching college English, and even the theory books I read for grad school. Please help me before I am buried in books.


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