SOIL: The Compost Interview July 28, 2015 14:28
Our own Jamie Kornegay's debut novel SOIL has been out for almost two weeks now and it has already taken the country by storm. Of course, we knew it would, but we were delighted to see how much others have enjoyed it. Check out some of the press here: Kirkus, Memphis Flyer, Clarion Ledger, Boston Globe, Mountain Xpress, Publisher's Weekly, Deep South Mag, Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jamie was even asked to write a piece for The Daily Beast about one of his favorite...er...amateur hobbies: covering up crimes. Well we thought since he was granting interviews to every hack with a keyboard, why couldn't he spare the time to answer some of OUR questions? After all, we're the ones with the gall to ask the hard-hitting questions no one else will. So here it is: the most exclusive Jamie Kornegay interview you'll read this month!
TR: Where are you right now? Shouldn't you be pushing your book in Shreveport or something?
JK: I’m on the third floor of a hotel in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, eavesdropping on the valets talking trash beneath my window.
TR: You've been on the road for over two weeks and you're plowing through the Carolinas. How has the tour treated you so far? What's your most lurid tale from the road?
JK: The tour has been great. I’ve been heartened by the fact that, at every stop, there’s at least one person from Mississippi who has come out to say hello. Virtually all have spent time in Greenwood and a large percentage have been to Turnrow, which is great to hear. Nothing too lurid thus far, although I did compare raccoon penises with George Singleton in South Carolina. Photo attached [editor's note: state law prevents us from publishing this photo].
TR: Let's get personal. In the compost heap of the world, what are you? A worm? Dirty napkin? Coffee filter? Engorged zucchini?
JK: I think an old nasty sweet potato with an eye sprout that refuses to die.
TR: These days everything is getting a film adaptation (children's books, board games, Twitter feeds, etc.) and authors have more control than ever (see Gillian Flynn writing the screenplay for Gone Girl). When SOIL is turned into a movie, is there a way you can use your influence to resurrect Steve Guttenberg's career?
JK: I haven’t seen Steve in a while, so I don’t know how old he looks. I wonder if he can do a convincing Southern accent. Maybe he could play the deputy in charge of the missing persons case, the one relocated from St. Louis. Is it terrible that I don’t remember that character’s name? I’d look it up, but I left the book down in the car.
TR: Who would do a better job directing the film adaptation of SOIL -- Wes Anderson or Michael Bay?
JK: Anderson. It would lose its regional identity, perhaps, but it would be worth it. Maybe he’d get Owen Wilson to play the deputy and Bill Murray to play Hatcher, the hippie neighbor.
TR: In other interviews with far more reputable publications, you've cited Fyodor Dostoevsky and Barry Hannah as major influences. Cut the crap. Who's the biggest influence on you that no one else could have guessed?
JK: Quentin Tarantino. I wonder if he’s free to direct.
TR: Ben has been your loyal employee for eight years and even played a major role in the creation of this book. Why did you decide to immortalize him as a rotting corpse in SOIL?
JK: The dead guy was from Ohio and died on Ben’s birthday. I know you won’t believe this, but it was totally subconscious. But somehow deserving, don’t you think?
TR: Be honest: how many animals were mutilated, cremated, or otherwise injured in the writing of this book?
JK: At least two, not counting myself.
TR: What's the stupidest question anyone has ever asked an author at a Turnrow appearance?
JK: I can’t remember anyone asking an author a stupid question. Let’s put this one in the running.
TR: Which character in SOIL most deserves a spinoff?
JK: Granger, supposed guru of Danny Shoals. Sam Jackson can play him if Tarantino directs.
TR: Which autobiographical part of the book would readers be most surprised by? Please keep it mildly tasteful.
JK: Someone really took a dump in my compost. I was so mad about it, but now I’m grateful. It was the impetus for the story.
TR: In your experience as a writer, which of these pieces of furniture is most conducive to imaginative writing: swivel chair, barstool, beanbag, bamboo mat, pile of goo, wicker chair?
JK: Probably a bar stool and all that comes with it. You can make a spark at the bar, really sit there and soak up stories. I’ve scribbled ideas on plenty of bar napkins. I don’t think I could sit at a bar and drink and write. There’s a fast dulling effect that comes after that quick spark, at least for me.
TR: When will you let your children read your work?
JK: I’ve thought about preparing a redacted manuscript, with certain words and lines crossed-out CIA style. My legion of young fans is dying to read it, but I tell them, it’s about adult problems and you’ll just be bored.
TR: There are internet rumors that Simon & Schuster is planning to release a limited edition 'Scratch-n-Sniff' SOIL, for true fans. Did you actually approve this?
JK: I didn’t approve it, per se, but I certainly approve of it. I could even help wrangle the scents.
TR: If Larry Brown were alive today, what would you want to hear him say about SOIL?
JK: “Damn, dude, that was pretty cool.”
TR: If Eudora Welty were alive today, what would you want to hear her say about SOIL?
JK: “Damn, dude, that was pretty cool.”
TR: Which stop on your whirlwind tour are you most looking forward to?
JK: I’m anxious to hit them all, but at this moment in my day, Greenwood is looking pretty nice.