Micro Interview | Issue 10
with Casey Plett
Kathryn Mockler: What is your first memory of writing creatively?
Casey Plett: I was eight years old on my mom's computer and thought "Hey, I like reading books. I have a computer. I could WRITE books." I thus began work on my first novel, sadly unfinished to this date.
KM: Were you working on A Dream of a Woman during the pandemic? And/or what has writing in the pandemic been like for you?
CP: Yes, I finished it during the pandemic and wrote the last third of the book then. It was terrible. I don't write in a way that's conducive to being isolated by myself at home. I mean, whatever, I've had a better pandemic than a lot of people, I don't feel hung up on it. But I definitely don't ever want to repeat the experience of finishing a book during conditions like that.
KM: Your stories are condensed in time and space, but also are full and complete worlds. It’s your pacing and how you move between scene and narration in a particular rhythm and how you provide us with context. Not a word is wasted. How do you achieve this balance?
CP: Thanks for that. I take a lot of inspiration, I think, from TV and movies. Something like a good character-driven movie is fascinating—every second is a reflection of, like, a colossal amount of time and money and you can't waste any time. Yet it still can't come off as calculated, it has to feel organic and natural and easy to the viewer.
I spend a lot of my time writing a book not just re-writing it but re-reading it, if that makes sense. Any parts that ever drag or feel boring to me, I cut or pare down or re-do. If I'm bored, a reader will probably be bored. If I still get a bang out of it for the fiftieth time, it's probably ok to stay in.
KM: How did you begin each of your stories for A Dream of a Woman?
CP: They usually begin with an image, or a relationship (an image of a relationship? Ha! Maybe.) Each story is definitely spurned by some murky, wordless idea.
KM: What are you working on now?
CP: NOTHING and it's GLORIOUS. Every time I finish a book, it takes a lot out of me and I tend to not write anything again for a while. Maybe even I won't write any more books, who knows. Writing is hard. I mean, I probably will...but for now, I'm chilling and it's great. I do have a full-length screenplay I'm trying to shop around. The writing is done (at this stage, anyway) but I'm trying to see if anybody wants to work with me on it. Wish me luck on that.
Casey Plett is the author of A Dream of a Woman, Little Fish, and A Safe Girl to Love, as well as co-editor of Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. She has written for The New York Times, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Maclean’s, The Walrus, The Winnipeg Free Press, and others. She is the Publisher at LittlePuss Press and is a two-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Best Transgender Fiction and has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
A Dream of a Woman
by Casey Plett
Arsenal Pulp Press, 2021
Check out Casey Plett’s events here.
Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Award-winning novelist Casey Plett (Little Fish) returns with a poignant suite of stories that center transgender women.
Casey Plett's 2018 novel Little Fish won a Lambda Literary Award, the Firecracker Award for Fiction, and the Amazon First Novel Award. Her latest work, A Dream of a Woman, is her first book of short stories since her seminal 2014 collection A Safe Girl to Love. Centering transgender women seeking stable, adult lives, A Dream of a Woman finds quiet truths in prairie high-rises and New York warehouses, in freezing Canadian winters and drizzly Oregon days.
In "Hazel and Christopher," two childhood friends reconnect as adults after one of them has transitioned. In "Perfect Places," a woman grapples with undesirability as she navigates fetish play with a man. In "Couldn't Hear You Talk Anymore," the narrator reflects on her tumultuous life and what might have been as she recalls tender moments with another trans woman.
An ethereal meditation on partnership, sex, addiction, romance, groundedness, and love, the stories in A Dream of a Woman buzz with quiet intensity and the intimate complexities of being human.
Issue #10 of Send My Love to Anyone
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