Episode 35: Salon editor Kim Brooks discusses her captivating debut novel, The Houseguest

The Houseguest by Kim Brooks

The Houseguest by Kim Brooks on Counterpoint Press

If you’ve ever wondered how to write an alternating point-of-view historical novel with prose that wields similes like samurai swords, then Kim Brooks’ second appearance on Behind the Prose is for you.

Brooks graces the virtual studio a second time to discuss her debut novel The Houseguest, out on April 12, 2016 on Counterpoint Press. (Her first time here featured a candid chat on her work at Salon as the personals essays editor.)

I enjoyed The Houseguest because I was completely enchanted with the characters and their perspectives. I have no idea how she kept all those storylines together (“Good editing,” she says in the interview) but I’m amazed and inspired. She confirms the magic of fiction that I began to uncover over the last year, starting with my interview of Natalie Baszile and her book Queen Sugar and she unknowingly confirmed the method acting theory of writing that Scott Alexander Hess broke down. 

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • The one question that will help your novel fall into place,
  • The two ways to have stellar dialogue, and
  • How the use of language allows readers to experience a character.

Also, enter to win your own copy of The Houseguest courtesy of Counterpoint Press. Tweet @behindtheprose about Kim’s show. The more you tweet, the better your chances to win. Contest closes 4/16/2016 at 11 p.m. Eastern.

Listen below, subscribe on iTunes, or read the transcript.

Show Links
Kim Brooks’ website

Kim Brooks on Twitter

Dan Smetanka, Kim’s editor at Counterpoint Press

Me on The New Yorker“How to Deal with an Angry Electorate”

Counterpoint Press

Kim Brooks

Kim Brooks, author, ‘The Houseguest’ and Salon personal essays editor

Kim Brooks‘ first novel, The Houseguest, is on Counterpoint Press. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. She has earned fellowships from the Michener-Copernicus Foundation, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the Posen Foundation. Her fiction has appeared in Glimmer TrainOne Story, The Missouri Review and other journals, and her essays have appeared in SalonBuzzfeed and New York Magazine. Her memoir Small Animals (Flatiron/Macmillan) will be published in 2017. She is the personal essays editor at Salon and lives in Chicago with her family.