It’s Publication Day for Vincent McCaffrey‘s debut novel Hound today — everyone send him flowers! We have signed copies for sale — as does the Brookline Booksmith. This Friday he’ll be in Hartford at the NEIBA trade show (along with other fave authors such as Joe Hill and Shaun Tan!) at the Author Reception and then on Oct. 9th he’ll be at Jamaicaway Books in Jamaica Plain for a reading.
And here’s a quick interview from the hitherto famously loquacious McCaffrey:
SBP: When did you start writing HOUND?
Vincent McCaffrey: 2002. Frustrated with the progress of several other projects (including the science fiction novel and a play) I started fleshing out some background ideas.
How much of Henry Sullivan is made of up bookhounds you knew?
What is a bookhound?
A person who searches for books–not technically a seller, but Henry does both and the part he relishes is searching for good books.
Henry loves books (and beer, mmm) and is worried about their historical moment having passed. What do you think? Is the technical wonder that is the book dead or is there life in the old dog yet?
No, it is not dead yet. It is in danger. That is more of the point. For all the reasons I have addressed in various pieces, but mostly because of a false sense of security with ephemeral technology and a political need to quiet the book.
What made you pick the mystery form to discuss the book as object?
Because I imagined the death of the book as a political act (first degree murder) as much as a technological mistake (manslaughter). Because I carried this into a future set 250 years from now and wrote a science fiction novel based around it. Then went back to see if I could explain where it started.
Henry’s coming back next year in A Slepying Hound to Wake. Can you tell us a bit about that book?
Henry has fallen in love, and this begins to give him a purpose outside of himself and his own small world.
Do you have a routine with writing? Any superstitions?
I write for three hours every morning. I cannot reveal my superstitions otherwise I might disappear.
Did being a bookseller for 30+ years affect your writing habits?
It greatly discouraged me for the longest time. All those books. All that crap! Most of thelessons were negative until I finally took my own advice and stopped giving a damn about what other people wanted from me. Then the positive aspects such as a good sense of literature in general and what I loved about it, plus a Calvinist work ethic about showing up on time and getting the work done proved instrumental.