Today is So Lucky publication day, and I’m celebrating by doing the launch at our local bookshop, Phinney Books. Reading, conversation, signing, then off to the pub next door for a party! Join me—bring your friends, family, neighbours, and their friends and family and neighbours, too. Because parties need people! And books need beer!
Meanwhile, here are a couple of interviews and a Big Idea piece to hold you until you can get your hands on the book:
Mara is fiercely straightforward but almost comically unaware at times of her intimidating effect on other people.
Yeah, it’s one of her flaws. She thinks she sees everything so clearly. And of course, she doesn’t. Nobody does. And it was weirdly freeing to write her. She just does things and says things, convinced of her own righteousness and she doesn’t always have a clue how she’s landing. And, of course, she was the head of this massive organization, and she thought that she was totally understanding and knew everything and was really clear-minded about everything. And then she finds out, the first day she’s diagnosed, that she hasn’t really thought about that and clearly she’s not very good at this. And then there’s her temper. So, we begin to see her. As she realizes her physical vulnerability, I think readers see more and more her actual flaws as well. They’re deeply entwined.
Tobias Carroll: In the afterword to the novel, you talk about the fact the writing of this book came as a surprise to you. Where were you in the midst of working on another project when this emerged?
Nicola Griffith: Well, I think of this as sort of nested avoidance behavior. I was about halfway through the sequel to Hild and I started to do a PhD. And then I got halfway through my PhD, and started to do this novel. And then, I finished the PhD, and now as soon as all this publicity stuff is done I’ll be returning back to Menewood the sequel to Hild. And I got a little stuck on Menewood, so I did a PhD. And I got a little stuck on my PhD, so I did a book and then I finished. So that’s one way to look at it. And the other, of course, is that I actually wrote a version of this book a very long time ago. And sold it. It was a novella and I sold it and I decided before it was published to pull it from publication, because there was something about it that made me unhappy. I wasn’t pleased with it at all. Have you ever heard of the term narrative prosthesis?
The Big Idea
I usually know years in advance what book I’m going to write next. But sometimes when you’re far away and thinking of something else a book will leap out from behind the sofa and shriek, SURPRISE! Then look hurt when you’re beating it about the head and yelling, Don’t. Ever. Do. That. Again!
That’s what happened with So Lucky.
In mid-2016 I was happily working on Menewood, the sequel to Hild, when I got accepted as a doctoral candidate. It was an amazing opportunity so I went for it. I had to set aside Menewood because though I’m guessing some people could write a huge book set in the 7th century and a PhD at the same time, I’m not one of them. But I worked fast and by mid-December I had a draft of my thesis. I sent it to my supervisor, who would get back to me in January.
So now I had three weeks with no pressing project and no one nagging me for stuff. I know! I thought. (Be wary, very wary of that phrase…) I’ll write that magic realist story…