Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Neda Disney, Author of Planting Wolves

Neda Disney, Planting Wolves, novel in stories, magical realism,  dark humor
Today we are interviewing novelist/painter/sculptor Neda Disney about her new work, titled "Planting Wolves."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
It’s a funny thing for me to try and do. I so want to be authentic but it’s hard to not curate information. I just want to say, let’s hang out and get to know each other!

Describe your new book, “Planting Wolves,” in a few sentences.
The characters are connected through magical realism. There are clues about how they are connected. It’s hard to see at first. They need to find each other since each one holds a solution for the other’s brokenness. Six isolated people. And I threw in some dark humor. Haha.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
I think people who are okay with no resolution. People who recognize the characters somehow like they’ve met them. It’s the kind of book that will deeply irritate some folks.

One of the interesting aspects of this book is that it features the intersection of very different characters. What inspired you to write a story like this?
I often meet people in LA who lived a block or so away from me when I lived in NYC. It’s just remarkable we never met. We used the same laundromat, found we’d been at the same parties, knew the same people. It’s so weird how many people I know now who I walked right past before.

Tell us about some of your main characters.
Well, they aren’t where they feel they should be. They aren’t getting what they want. They all have these mortal wounds that never heal- I mean that figuratively. There’s a lot of “if only this thing were this way then I’d be happy.”
They’re traveling through their inner landscapes and not looking outward. How’s that for vague!

You’ve lived in England, Los Angeles, and New York. How has living in so many very different places affected your writing?
I have a very complete sense of otherness. Of quietly looking for my place, finding it, then being okay. Otherness passes for me, because I know it well and I know it’s a mirage.

All of the characters share a feeling of loneliness. What made you decide to include this characteristic in your book?
I didn’t mean to. I’ve heard that a lot, “Your characters are lonely and unhappy.” I’ve been saying “They are? Oh my god, I’m a total weirdo with sad people in my head.” I guess you’re right, though. I heard someone say that they end up solving their loneliness with isolation. 
It’s a loop, it won’t stop unless you invite people in.

Neda Disney, Planting Wolves, novel in stories, magical realism,  dark humor
On a similar note, does your book have a theme? If so, what is it?
The theme seems to accidentally be about planting people and things where they don’t belong.

Are there any authors who you cite as influences?
George Saunders, David Foster Wallace, of course, Denis Johnson... and many more.

How long have you been writing?
As long as I can remember.

Who was your favorite character to write?
Rodney and Nelly. The opposites unknowingly repelling each other like magnets held the wrong way.

What is your favorite book, and why?
It’s a toss-up between Infinite Jest and The Great Gatsby. I love Infinite Jest for its complex and detailed world and Gatsby for how so much is written and felt with such gorgeous economy.

What genre do you read most frequently?
I love crappy real crime books. The repetitive recounting of a murder and the clues. They’re so stupid but I just need to know who did it and why. I’m not a sophisticated reader.

How do you think you’ve evolved as a writer since when you first started?
That’s a solid question.
I’m less contrived. I just don’t try to be clever. That’s always obvious and annoying... I trust my readers to do their own thing while they read.

What was the most difficult aspect of writing this book?
Honestly, it was hard to take it seriously. I can’t treat it like a job so I have a scattered writing style, and that makes it hard to feel pressured or too invested. All my friends were on me about it. Finish it! Send it somewhere! Focus! Haha.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
I’m enjoying writing my next book very much. My ten-year goal is to keep writing when I feel moved by the muses and to keep connecting with people I don’t know through words.

You’ve worked with multiple media types, from sculpting to TV to radio to film. What inspired you to write a novel?
Okay, I’m starting to sound like a space cadet but they all felt like a novel. I narrate everything I do in my head. Well, not everything but most of those jobs are done alone. So there is a need for an observer and a witness. Narrative.

How have your readers responded to the book so far?
Well, my friends and family love it as they must. Great pre-release reviews. Someone called it a masterpiece. Another likened it to Infinite Jest and I was sure he or she was drunk or having a stroke.

What do you hope readers gain from reading your novel?
I hope they enjoy and feel that non-linear stories can exist just like everything in life.

Is there any aspect of writing you don’t like?
I don’t like autocorrect. It’s obscene and disruptive.

What is your favorite part of writing?
Being surprised about what comes out. About what in God’s name has been rattling around in my head and is about to spill.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If yes, how’d you deal with it? If you have not had writer’s block, why do you think you haven’t?
I am in a near-constant state of writer’s block. I don’t think of it as a block, though. It’s research time. A block comes from a lack of a story. Go live life and the flow returns.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
It’s all set in my neighborhood of Los Feliz in Los Angeles. It’s about class, money, and the lack thereof. It’s about divorce, home contractors, a waitress, a pissed-off rich woman, and a number of people, mostly female characters, trusting stereotypes without looking deeper. Mayhem ensues, haha.

Is there anything else you’d like potential readers to know about your book?
Don’t look too hard for plot or meaning. It will find you in its own time. Keep reading it when it’s finished. Keep it going in your head. 
It’s yours now, too.

More Information
Visit Neda Disney's website. 
Check out Neda Disney on Instagram.