The Next Big Thing Blog Hop
The Next Big Thing: What is the working title of your book?
Carlo Matos: The book is called Big Bad Asterisk*. At first it was simply called Big Asterisk because of all the asterisks in the manuscript. It was a lot of fun weaving the book together with footnotes. On the one hand, the footnotes serve as connective tissue, coarsely tying piece to piece, but, on the other hand, they also bring the mess of the outside world to bear on the tidy little plot. And, of course, my female protagonist is a real bad ass, a big bad ass if you will, so the title is also a play on words.
TNBT: Where did the idea come from for your book?
CM: I was thinking a lot about the nature of footnotes because I was reading Kristina Marie Darling’s book, Melancholia: (An Essay). Our styles are very different, but we both love prose poems and footnotes. This might be an effect of our scholarly interests, I’m not sure, but it has left an indelible mark on our work. For me, the footnote is always a chance to break from the sometimes-predictable demands and desires of plot, and I think that is what I like best about them.
TNBT: What genre does your book fall under?
CM: I’m not sure. I think it’s a novella first and foremost. Now whether it’s a novella in prose poems or in flash fiction, I can’t say for sure. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter. The point is to enjoy things in both their individual manifestations and as a whole. That seems to serve the book best.
TNBT: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
CM: “He” would be played by Jared Harris because he can pull off ridiculous and deadly serious at the same time. “She” would be played by Gina Carano because she is an awesome MMA fighter/kick boxer and a budding actress.
TNBT: What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
CM: Are you married yet? If not, come find me.
TNBT: How long did it take for you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
CM: It took about three to four months of feverish writing. I was looking for a way to push what I had been doing in my previous book, Counting Sheep Till Doomsday (also from BlaxeVOX [books]) and I realized that plot might be the way to do it. The pressures of plot and character development forced the prose poems to become even prosier and made me worry a lot about connective tissue. There was a lot of chaos involved in the writing of this book, much more than there had been for my two previous books.
TNBT: What other books would you compare your book to within your genre?
CM: Oddly, the book that comes to mind is Sandra Cisneros’s novella The House on Mango Street. I wasn’t aware of this when I was working on it; it occurred to me only after. Cisneros calls Mango Street a novel but it often reads like a collection of linked short stories, and the little micro chapters look a lot like flash fiction or prose poems. I have been teaching this book in my developmental English classes at Truman College for years, and I think it managed to seep into my mind slowly, one chapter at a time.
TNBT: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you like Yeti, MMA, Eddie Vedder, Alex Trebek, Nelly Furtado, Atlantis, giant whale penises, and making out with blowfish, you might want to give Big Bad Asterisk* a read.
Blog Hop: Here’s who Carlo Matos tags and why:
CM: Millicent Borges Accardi because her first book Injuring Eternity was like reading the diary of a sister I never had. I look forward to her next book, Only More So—forthcoming from Salmon Poetry.
And Lina Ramona Vitkouskas because she is one of the most interesting language poets writing today, in my opinion. She has a new book out, A Neon Tryst, from Shearsman Books.