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  Curled Up With a Good Book
*Twisted Tree* author Kent MeyersAn interview with Kent Meyers, author of *Twisted Tree*

Contributing editor Luan Gaines spoke recently with author Kent Meyers about his latest novel, Twisted Tree, the paradoxical environmental twinning of harshness and delicacy, the revelation of the true nature of violence through time and relationships, and the myth of safety.

Interviewer Luan Gaines: What was your inspiration for Twisted Tree?

Kent Meyers: The book came from a number of sources. When I finished The Work of Wolves, the only character I was still interested in was Greggy Longwell. He had grown throughout the course of writing that book and was still growing when I submitted the final manuscript, and I knew that if the opportunity presented itself, I would explore him further. So that’s one source of the book.

About that same time, I came across a reference to pro-Ana websites, and was completely taken aback. They rang all sorts of personal chimes for me, partly for the obvious reasons that I, like anyone else in our society/culture, know people who have been caught up in eating disorders, but also because the tone and nature of the websites resonated for me in a very religious sense. I was raised Catholic and attended a parochial school through eighth grade, and was fascinated as a child with asceticism, martyrdom, self-sacrifice. I knew the lives of many of the saints and their stories of sacrifice and of avoiding the corruptions of the world. All of this is astonishingly close to the tone and thinking behind a pro-Ana website: don’t be tempted out of your Ana by others, don’t stray, keep to the way (I’m paraphrasing). How, then, could I help but mull over the question of how much anorexia may be connected to spirituality, or lack of it, and how much our culture is awry in its thinking about the relationship between spirit and body?

Finally, the book began as an artistic challenge to myself. I’m interested—as any fiction writer is—in the larger questions of what a story is. I wondered how few sentences it might take to write a novel, and I had the idea that I would try to write a novel in twelve sentences—twelve chapters, with each chapter containing a single sentence about the major character, with those sentences, through their context, adding up to a novel about that character. This of course raises a corollary question: How much are our lives made up of our individual passage through time, and how much are they made up of other people’s lives, of their perceptions of and interactions with us? This set of questions drove the book forward, and while I eventually realized it was going to take more than a dozen sentences, you can see the original conception in this final version.

The first chapter of your novel introduces the reader to a murderer and his victim, Haley Jo Zimmerman. The following chapters are written from the perspectives of townspeople, but without the immediacy of violence of the opening pages. Why the sharp contrast between the first chapter and the rest of the book?

I’m interested in the word “immediacy” in the question. My whole intent with the first chapter was to not show the violence, to force the reader to imagine it. The fact that you use the word “immediacy” to describe that first chapter suggests—and I hope it’s true—that you imagined the horror of the violence more strongly than you would have if I’d actually described it. The violence is implied, suggested, and Hayley Jo is made human—and from that you understand just how awful it really is.

I think we—our culture, our art forms—are in a strange “place” in regards to how we portray and think about violence. We often glorify it while pretending not to. I’ve read statements by movie directors who say they are trying to make viewers aware of the horrors of violence by showing it as graphically as possible. I think these claims are either poorly thought-through or disingenuous. Simply watching a violent act performed on a screen teaches us nothing about its nature. In fact, putting it in a context of entertainment makes it virtually impossible for it to approach the reality it purports to bring us near. Movies do many things well, but they do a poor job of teaching us about the complexities of violence—both its attractions and horrors. My first chapter, in a sense, makes an artistic argument—that violence is artistically more “true” when it’s off-scene and only imagined. One of my hopes for the first chapter is that readers will be truly disturbed, in ways that a graphic portrayal of the killing would never bring them to be.

The second part of this is that violence’s true nature is only known through time and through relationships. It doesn’t end with the victim’s death. It continues as trauma in every single person who loved and cared about that person. Thus I wanted to keep the moment of violence out of the book so that the reader would be confronted with its ongoing influence on the lives of others. This is what happens in the chapters that follow the murder, and it is the kind of thing literature can do and film can’t. So you might say your question leads to an argument about film versus literature, an argument about what graphic violence ignores, and what the true nature of violence is.

Finally, as a good friend of mine noted about the book, the first chapter suggests a false kind of “knowing.” Alexander Stoughton believes he knows everything about Hayley Jo—and that having all that knowledge somehow adds up to intimacy. The rest of the novel suggests a different Hayley Jo than he can ever understand—and yet that knowledge is made up of bits and flashes. The book, I hope, challenges the reader to think about how we know others and how we fail to know them, and what intimacy is and is not—and perhaps how false intimacy is a kind of violence itself.

*Twisted Tree* by Kent MeyersThe Internet allows evil to intrude on Twisted Tree, South Dakota, with sudden violence, shattering any assumption the town might have of security. How does this vulnerability affect the town? Is safety only a myth?

Twisted Tree is about invasions in many forms: the Internet of course, but also invasive species (a biological invasion: leafy spurge, salt cedar, Canada thistle); the literal invasions of war (Iraq; Elise’s Central American country, Wounded Knee); the very personal and intimate invasions of forcible sex. I intended to present a powerful and unambiguous invasion in the opening chapter but then suggest that it’s far from being the only one. Like Eddie Little Feather’s gloves, the book does a fair amount of turning inside-out; it looks as if the evil is outside the community, but then it turns inside-out and you can’t be sure; Elise thinks she’s going to Central America to help and then discovers she’s the one who needs help; you think the threat comes from outside the community, but then you wonder whether it comes from inside—and so forth.

In the strictest sense, of course safety is only a myth; there could be an asteroid hitting us tonight. But in a more pragmatic sense, there are certainly degrees of safety, and communities can take steps to protect their members and especially their children—which is certainly the most important responsibility a community has. I think many people in this Internet age, young people in particular, have learned to substitute anonymity for privacy. But anonymity and privacy are not even in the same conceptual realm. They cohere around completely different nodes of meaning. Privacy is naturally linked to intimacy and trust; anonymity cannot possibly be linked to intimacy or trust, since, after all, the anonymous person is... well, anonymous. If you start to think about this much at all, it becomes a frightening prospect that our young people confuse and conflate the two notions. The title of the first chapter is “Chosen.” That, of course, has powerful spiritual connotations, but here it’s chilling: Hayley Jo has been chosen out of anonymity. To be chosen out of privacy is one thing; to be chosen out of anonymity is completely and horrifyingly another.

Finally, in answer to the last part of your question, about the effects on the town: this is an extension of my first answer. Violence’s effects are transformative; they last a long, long time. Again, I think that film, by its very nature, can’t allow this larger sense to be conveyed—and we get so much of our understanding about violence through film.

Pro-Ana sites have proliferated on the Internet. What are they specifically? What purpose do they serve for those who suffer from the disease?

They are essentially sites that encourage young women (it can be men, of course, but most of these sites are designed for young women) to maintain their anorexia as a lifestyle. The sites provide tips for how to resist the pressure of friends and family, how to hide the condition, how to persevere in the face of those trying to help you. As I said before, there is a religious tone to all this that was one of the things that got me thinking and writing.

About six months ago the French government banned pro-Ana websites, seeing them as a threat to the lives of many young women.

Is there an historical relationship between anorexia and religious practice? In your opinion, does this relationship have anything to do with the attraction of the disease?

In the course of my research for the novel, I read a book titled Holy Anorexia by Rudoph Bell, which I strongly recommend to anyone interested in this question. Some female saints ate astonishingly little, going for weeks without food. Interestingly, they gained great power in the male-dominated church through this. St. Teresa of Avila was so highly regarded that she influenced the Pope himself.

Modern interpretations of anorexia suggest that anorexics feel out-of-control of many parts of their lives, but they can control what they eat—and so they do. But asceticism, fasting, sacrificing, controlling the body’s urges—all these things are part of any spiritual practice. The body, after all, dies. It falls apart, decays. It’s part of human nature to be attracted to forms of asceticism, and I doubt there is a person alive who hasn’t at some point in his or her life been interested in the notion of not letting the body have its way, and through that denial achieving some higher realization. So I suspect that there is a spiritual absence manifesting in anorexia. You might even say that there is a spiritual starvation that manifests itself in bodily starvation. We don’t know how to interpret the fact that we have bodies. One of the major things spiritual traditions do is provide us with that interpretation, but in the contemporary world, these spiritual traditions have lost much power.

When Haley Jo breaks off her budding relationship with Clay Mattingly, she gives no explanation. Does she do so because of something that happened or because her eating disorder requires further isolation?

This is a question I don’t feel quite able to answer, or the answer seems so obvious I wonder whether you’re asking for something else. What has happened is her encounter in the cattails. She can no longer bear the thought of fishing nor the sound of her nickname. But in the face of Clay’s anger—he sees it as a rejection of him and grows angry immediately—she can’t continue to an explanation. I think the scene suggests the fragility of intimacy, and how easily it can be stymied, and how much we have to open up to the fullness of another person in times of intimacy, and difficult that is to do.

The good, the bad and the ugly - your characters reflect many aspects of human behavior as lived in Twisted Tree. In such a harsh terrain, how does place shape the people who live there?

I think it’s important to remember in reading this novel that the entire community is affected by a truly horrific event. One Amazon reader/commenter said the novel portrayed South Dakota as a terrible place to live. While readers are certainly free to form their own opinions, I think that reaction misses an important part of the book—which is that trauma is real and violence has repercussions. It is not simply a graphic “moment”; it goes on and on in the lives of others. It twists, it perverts, it messes up. I want people to confront this. Of course Twisted Tree, the community, is messed up and darkened. Hopes have been dashed. Lives have been shattered. Dreams have died. This is what violence does. I think we often discount trauma as a shaping force in people’s lives, and I don’t want readers to be allowed to do that.

I’m not sure I would use the term “harsh” to describe the country of the novel. While Twisted Tree is fictional, I imagine it as a western South Dakota town, and western South Dakota is beautiful. Austere, perhaps. Semi-arid. But it certainly isn’t harsh. In fact, I have some discomfort using a term like “harsh” to describe any environment. When we use a term like that, we are completely human-centered. It may be harsh on us if we try to live there—but that may be a sign that we should stay out and that if we try to make it less harsh on us, we risk doing damage. Even Death Valley isn’t harsh to those species adapted to live there. Notice how “harsh” and “delicate” can very easily be used to describe the same land—yet the one term opens the door to the idea of abusing the land, whereas the other serves as a warning to be careful and pay attention. I think that Twisted Tree is really about living in a delicate land, and that delicate land has been messed up and thrown off balance. It’s been overgrazed. Alien species have invaded. Streams and rivers have been eroded and/or dammed. I don’t make a big deal about these things, try not to hit the reader in the face with them, but they’re all there. And then a drought sets in, and the land, already stressed, is stressed even more.

I think this novel is less interested in how land affects people than in how people affect land. Stanley Zimmerman seems to me a kind of hero; he’s trying to reverse that messing up, trying to pay attention to the delicacy that surrounds him and respond to it. But he can’t pay enough attention and misses his own daughter’s delicacy. If there is an answer to your question, it lies in Stanley’s situation: if human beings are going to live well and fully, we have to pay attention—to those we love, to our surroundings, to the effects of our actions. In a world that is working well, taking care of itself, we can focus our attention more narrowly. But in a world awry—twisted, out of balance—we have to pay attention to so much that we easily become overwhelmed. In paying attention to one thing, we miss another.

In so many ways, then, this question relates to others you’ve asked. The number and kinds of invasions the contemporary world is experiencing easily overwhelm people. We can’t focus on all of them. A healthy ecology takes care of itself. A healthy community has structures in place that serve to protect and guard and guide. A healthy economy works from a basis of providing for all, and also allowing for the future. If all these things are healthy, people are free to pay attention to those things nearest to them. But if these things are out-of-whack?—well, I think I’ve said it. All of this relates to body and spirit, too—and to the question of eating disorders. (See Michael Pollan, for instance, about what a “cuisine” is; essentially, a healthy cuisine allows us to quit paying attention to/worrying about what we eat).

So then—I’m hugely sympathetic to Stanley Zimmerman. I like him. Readers, of course, can make up their own minds about him, and I’ve had some readers who see him as failing his daughter and even himself. I suppose he does. But that’s the difficulty of trying to be “heroic” in the contemporary world; you lose track of things as you focus on others, and “heroism” itself becomes a fault—which is why someone using the term has to put it in quotation marks!

*The Work of Wolves* by Kent MeyersThe majority of Twisted Tree reminded me of your previous novel, The Work of Wolves - an indifferent world, provocative characters, dysfunctional relationships. Were you conscious of recreating that landscape in Twisted Tree? What is the connection between the two novels?

The town of Twisted Tree is the same town as the one in The Work of Wolves, and Lostman’s Lake is the same Lostman’s Lake, etc. etc. In The Work of Wolves, I dealt with the effects of a particular founding myth—that of Abraham and Isaac—and traced its repercussions and meaning. I had the idea that I could do a similar kind of thing with this book and trace the idea of the resurrection myth. I’m immensely curious about how such stories become part of people’s imaginations and perceptions and interpretations. For a short period the working title of this novel was “Other Resurrections,” and you can see that many of the chapters have various kinds of resurrections in them: Sophie Lawrence is brought back to life when Sidney has a stroke, but the life is not one she would have ever anticipated; the salt cedar bush is buried but comes back; Shane Valen resurrects his father; Richard Mattingly’s past is resurrected in his son—and so on; I don’t need to name them all.

As I said before, Greggy Longwell also serves as a connection between the two novels, and in the last chapter Norman Walks Alone and Ted Kills Many make cameo appearances. And of course, I drown a car in both novels; I thought it was kind of fun to repeat that and suggest the notion of this lake, that is not meant to be a lake, filling up with cars.

Sheriff Greggy Longwell (The Work of Wolves) reappears as the voice of reason, the fact-finder. What is the sheriff’s role in telling the story of Twisted Tree?

He’s the voice of reason, but his reasoning isn’t all that sound. In fact, he never quite hits the truth. Nor does Bea Conway. Nor does Alexander Stoughton. The book is very much about how we know or don’t know—people, events, history. Maybe the book is suggesting that truth, too, like land, is delicate, and we have to approach it carefully, in humility, with a full awareness that we never have it all, and that there is hubris in believing we do.

Greggy thinks he knows exactly what happened to Eddie Little Feather, thinks it’s all obvious and, as an insider, tells Lowell, the outsider, who Eddie “was.” But heaven help us if any reader accepts Greggy’s analysis! He doesn’t even know Eddie is homosexual. That’s how little he understands. He dismisses the marble as meaningless. And of course with Shane Valen, if a reader wishes to, he or she can find all sorts of clues that suggest that Greggy’s version of what happened with Shane and his mother is close but not quite right. (What about those missing letters?! Greggy simply makes up what’s in them and then claims it as true. And what about those dates on Shane’s wall? Greggy can’t place them in his narrative, so he dismisses them as unimportant. And that fishing pole?)

Of course, we all do this—take partial truth and use it to fill in the gaps. That’s what a religion does. It’s what a story does. It’s what a biography does. A history. A reminiscence, even. And, of course, a novel. It’s a satisfying and enriching and human thing. This novel isn’t suggesting a solution to the dilemmas of truth. But it is asking readers to think about them—and, I suppose, to develop a deep humility, a sandals-off approach to truth. After all, Alexander Stoughton, too, constructs a truth. And so does Shane Valen.

A deeply disturbed man, Shane Valen shuns neighbors and society. What is Shane’s significance in Twisted Tree? Does he breed the same evil as Haley Jo’s murderer? Is redemption possible for such a man?

This is a question I almost hate to touch with an answer, because I think Shane is so important to the novel, and I want readers to make up their own minds about him. I do hope I’ve written the cattail scene with enough ambiguity about Shane’s intentions and actions to make various interpretations possible. (The reader, I hope, has to do the very thing I suggest above—take partial information and fill in the gaps, construct some kind of truth.)

On one hand Shane moves the novel into gothic territory. But I also think it’s possible to see him as essentially a very lonely man with nowhere to go with the chaos of his emotions. I will note here that Shane knows things that no one else knows. He could fill in the gaps in so many people’s stories. But he’s inarticulate and, not knowing the stories his knowledge is part of, he doesn’t even know what he knows. I find that hugely interesting—and not just because I wrote it. I mean, I find it interesting as a concept, and as an artistic issue. Unless we can place knowledge into a story of some sort, we don’t even know we know it. It’s just a place we fall asleep in.

And of course all this relates to the previous question. If Shane could be engaged, if he could be drawn into the community, he would be a wealth of information, even perhaps a healing force, giving people the very things they want to know; the location of Cassie Janisch’s grave, for instance. This book is so much about the desire to know, to connect, to put together, to frame—and about all the ways we lose the ability to do so—and then, how constructing a story in spite of not-knowing is an enterprise fraught with moral issues. And yet we have to construct stories.

The novel is very much about how we know and don’t know, how we frame and don’t frame, how we construct and don’t construct, and about the value and efficacy and meaning of those stories we construct. Bill Lipking fits into this discussion. You may have noticed that Bill Lipking’s story is told completely as a sort of photographic negative. He appears as himself only once in the novel, when he plays marbles with Eddie Little Feather. Other than that, his story is primarily absence and gap—and yet it’s possible to create him as a completely full character and to know almost his entire life story. So Bill engages the reader in constructing a story out of primarily gap and hollowness—to kind of quote Audrey Damish.

Richard Mattingly relives his own youthful losses through his son, Clay, in one of the most touching relationships in Twisted Tree. How does Clay’s experience with Haley Jo bring father and son closer together?

Clay’s loss focuses Richard’s attention on his own past and his son, and it leads to a large and poignant insight and connection. But so much else escapes Richard’s attention: he never does understand what happened with Sophie, and why; it never occurs to him that Hayley Jo is really the one in trouble; Shane essentially tells him what’s going on, and he misses it entirely. So there it is again: with so much out of balance, with so much to pay attention to, and with so little awareness of how various stories fit together (which is, so little real knowledge) we miss important things, even when we’re paying attention, or precisely because we’re paying attention to something else.

Eddie Little Feather’s story is particularly poignant: “He’d learned to crouch through life.” What is the significance of the marble found in Eddie’s pocket after his tragic death?

Eddie is Lakota, he’s left-handed, he’s learning-disabled (most likely dyslexic), and he’s homosexual. He’s also physically/athletically gifted, and altogether gentle and generous. I like him a great deal. He’s the only person in the novel, I believe, who actively tries to protect Hayley Jo, who notices that she needs protection and does what he can to provide it. Our mechanized, technological, move-it-from-here-to-there, energy-driven world runs people like Eddie over. Eddie reaches the high point of his life in grade school when he beats Bill Lipking at marbles for the third time in a row. But he misses the chance to make the connection to Sophie—another person beaten down by circumstance—and by the time he makes the connection and understands her insight—that he can play his own game and doesn’t have to follow the rules of the game as its structured, he can turn losing into winning—it’s too late; the game has ended, the world’s moved on, the fad has changed, power has shifted.

When Eddie throws his marbles all away, he keeps this single one. It’s the moment of realization of his life. One of the marbles he discards in the swamp, of course, becomes critical to the moment that Angela and Caleb physically touch for the first time. I don’t mean to suggest that they wouldn’t have touched anyway—but the book is unraveling the infinite complexities and connections in our lives, the ways we are affected by things we don’t even recognize—the parts of other stories that become parts of ours, though the previous story is lost to us.

Caleb is caught between his vocation and an all too human yearning to be close to another human being. Why is he unable to give the last sacrament to the woman dying on the side of the road? How will such a man find peace with the choices he has made?

It’s probably useful to read this chapter in conjunction with the second chapter, Elise Thompson’s. In each case, people who purportedly have something to give find themselves instead given something. I think Caleb can find peace with his choices, because the mysterious woman, whom I think can be read as a mythical figure if the reader chooses to make that connection, allows him to reclaim himself. Although on the surface he is forgiving her, the truth is, she is allowing him to forgive himself. This doesn’t mean a happily-ever-after. But peace—as far as peace is possible in any life—seems possible for Caleb—at least to me it does, though readers don’t have to agree. I see this chapter as a healing chapter, acknowledging mystery and accepting humility in the face of it. (I do want to note how your question about “vocation” and “human yearning” ties back into the issues of body and spirit and anorexia.)

Sophie Lawrence has every reason to hate her stepfather, Sid Ervin. Why does she choose to stay in Twisted Tree, delivering small, vengeful blows of instead of leaving the site of her childhood trauma?

Her mother dies. Things happen. She’s trapped. That’s one answer.

Her mother dies. Things happen. She recognizes opportunity. She builds a new story. That’s another answer.

But I think there are a lot of answers. (I do hope some of my readers find this chapter darkly comic. I think it is. Or comic-tragic. Or maybe it’s just dark. I don’t know. In any case, I had great fun writing it.)

With the development of each new character, I had a sense of hope gradually ground down by reality. Yet most of the characters don’t succumb to cynicism, finding solace in other ways. How does a propensity for reinvention or resurrection define your characters?

Look at the word you use here—“resurrection!” There it is, one of the concepts I used when first working on the novel, emerging in your question. That’s great. It was completely a defining element for my characters—and you picked it up! And I think that’s the full answer to the question.

*The Witness of Combines* by Kent MeyersSnakes are ubiquitous in Twisted Tree, a recurring theme between Angela and Brock, in Shane Valen’s house. What is their significance?

I assume here that I don’t have to deal with the whole Freudian/phallic and/or good/evil/Garden-of-Eden symbolism in snakes. Yeah, yeah, Angela, a woman pregnant by a priest, has a sexual symbol and a symbol for the devil curled up in her lap. I know, I know! But part of using such obvious symbols is to ask the reader to go beyond them, to assume that I know what the reader knows.

Angela wants purity. She wants Brock to change the land for her. The rattlesnakes are part of the land. She would be one who would see the land as “harsh” rather than “delicate.” (I’m sorry if I seem to be hounding you over this word! It’s just such a useful distinction!) I think her chapter is way too complex for me to interpret fully, and it deals with ambiguities that go way beyond the obvious symbols. She develops a sympathy and empathy for the rattlesnake, almost a mother/child relationship—or angel (a)/devil. Yet out of that relationship, she also learns to lie and to establish that lie at the heart of her relationship with Brock. Yet that relationship turns out to be workable. And she protects Laura with the lie. But not entirely. And so on and on and on. And of course she is connected to Shane by virtue them being the only two characters in the novel who have an affinity for rattlesnakes, and who have held them, let them sleep with them. But I’ll let someone else make what they want of that.

Please explain this statement: “Suffering has got to be given order. Otherwise it’s just chance.”

If my asteroid (from an answer I gave above) hits earth and kills millions of people and causes immense suffering, that’s just chance—unless God sent it. Then that suffering is given order and becomes meaningful. Philosophies, religions, literatures, artistic traditions from all cultures that ever existed have been dealing with the question of human suffering and its meaning, or lack of meaning—as Audrey Damish says in another context, “to redeem [it] from coincidence.”

What is “heyoka”?

“Heyoka” is a Lakota term for a particular kind of spiritual figure—a person who does everything backwards. Anthropologically, this person could be seen as a spiritual clown. A heyoka would wash with dust, ride his horse backwards, say yes for no. Many cultures have heyoka-type figures, or heyoka-type events—Carnival or Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday being most familiar to people, where the “rules” are suspended or turned around. The court jester in a monarchy would be another possible figure like this. Such figures poke fun at tradition, introduce humor, keep people from taking themselves too seriously, allow space for invention and re-thinking. In traditional Lakota culture, the heyoka was very significant. It wasn’t a role just anyone could “play” but instead a specific calling for certain people, and highly regarded.

What did you find the most difficult in writing Twisted Tree? The most rewarding?

The greatest difficulties and the greatest rewards were the same with this book. My editor, Jenna Johnson, was fantastic, and the back-and-forth with her was both hugely frustrating and immensely rewarding. The book moved in stages toward its needed shape, and both of us were kind of guessing at what that shape was, so that Jenna would sometimes suggest something and I would spend the next week thinking, “No, that can’t be right, I don’t want to do that.” Then I would respond to what she had suggested, but what would happen was that my response was entirely different—and yet driven by her insights.

Sometimes I did things precisely opposite to what she suggested. She suggested once, for instance, that I take a particular character right out of the novel; in the next draft, I wove the character in so hard and tight that that character couldn’t possibly be removed and she wouldn’t even dare suggest it! But that turned out to be precisely what the novel needed. Jenna was sensing its needs and shapes at a very deep level, but she couldn’t always pin them down precisely or articulate them. But her suggestions became very important guidelines and signposts for me.

It was an immensely creative working relationship, full of the very kind of tensions that lead to insights and revelations. She was never afraid to say what she thought, and I was never afraid to do something different than what she suggested—and it seemed like every time she suggested something and I responded to it, even if I responded in a way different from her intent, it was precisely what the novel needed. Through some kind of wonderful alchemy, we were working together toward the book’s realization. It was frustrating and tense and completely marvelous.

Are you currently working on another novel? If so, can you share something about it with us?

I am working on another novel—but I’d prefer to say nothing about it. I’ve only got about 100 pages done in a first draft, and I have never written less than six full drafts (complete re-typings) of a novel, along with dozens of sub-drafts. So that saying anything at this point would be highly premature, and it makes me jittery.

Kent Meyers is the author of The River Warren, The Light in the Crossing, and The Witness of Combines. He lives in Spearfish, South Dakota, where he teaches at Black Hills State University.

Contributor Luan Gaines interviewed author Kent Meyers, author of Twisted Tree (see accompanying review), about his book for Luan Gaines/2009.


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