Sherman Alexie Interview

I interviewed Sherman Alexie recently, when he was speaking nearby in College Station, Texas, and the interview is up now on If you ever have a chance to hear Sherman speak, definitely, definitely go. Sometimes meeting writers whose work you deeply admire isn’t such a good idea (I have one short story based on such a meeting here.)

Here are a few outtakes, which ended up on the editing room floor:

You’ve said that you plan to rewrite and re-publish Flight someday. Is that still true?

No. I’m always saying that, that I’ll remake movies or rewrite books…I never will.

Do you think Face is your best book of poetry yet?

I think it’s the third best one. I think First Indian on the Moon is the best one, and then The Business of Fancydancing, and then Face. Part of it is that I just miss that kid I was when I wrote the other ones…that kid was brand new.

The last time we spoke you said you felt more free writing YA—you felt freer than when you write for adults. Do you still feel that way?

Yeah, it felt new. I’m still excited. I still feel freer than adult, I still think so. Maybe with the sequel that will change, but I still think it was such a huge thing, it felt like the start of a career again, so I guess that’s what I was trying to say.

I read the thirty-page sample of Radioactive Love Song that your publisher produced for BEA last year and I loved it. What happens after those first thirty pages?

He goes on a road trip. His mother dies pretty quickly…that was one of the issues of the book, because I needed to get him on the road trip, and I needed him to have that time with her, so I haven’t figured out how to make that work yet. There have been different versions…sometimes she dies fairly quickly, sometimes a third of the novel is about her dying…and I just couldn’t find the right balance. I’ve worked on it now for a year and a half, but I have five or six other novels that are put away too. I have no problem putting away books. I’ll just write another one.

William, the narrator, is such a sweet character though! I’m sad that I won’t hear the rest of the story for a long time. Don’t you feel bad abandoning him?

No. He’s in a very safe warm environment. He’s not going away! The book will be published. It’s signed. There’s a contract. I’ve been paid money for it.

Okay, I feel a little better…I just really liked him. Zombies or unicorns?

I’m a zombie guy. I have a t-shirt of Big Foot wrestling a unicorn.



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