Interviewed by Sue Leonard.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 21st September 2013
Beginner’s Pluck Alissa Nutting.
Alissa fantasised about becoming an engineer, so that her life could be a feminist performance, but by college, she felt compelled to become a writer.
“I realised I couldn’t bear to do anything else.”
After completing her PhD, Alissa published a collection of short stories called Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls.
Who is Alissa Nutting?
Date of birth: 1981 in rural Michigan
Education: High School in Florida. University of Florida, English, with some Creative Writing classes, The University of Nevada in Las Vegas, English, with a creative dissertation.
Family: Married for ten years, with a daughter, Sparrow who is five months old.
The Day Job: Assistant Professor of Creative writing, John Carroll University in Ohio.
Interests: “I am a collector of monstrosity and the grotesque. I like creepy objects and medical textbooks with odd illustrations.”
Favourite Writers: Angela Carter; Kafka; Kelly Link; Amy Bender.
Second Novel: “I’m trying to decide which direction to go in. Every time I try to write something benign, it turns into the most terrifying thing imaginable.”
Top Writing Tip: Treat writing as if it is insulin and you are a diabetic. Make a passionate commitment to it. Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block.
Web: www.alissanutting.com Twitter: @alissanutting
The Debut: Tampa. Faber and Faber: €13.78 Kindle:€7.10
Celeste Price is a married middle-school teacher with an obsession for 14 year old boys. She pursues Jack Patrick mercilessly, but plans to throw him over when his maturity makes him unattractive to her. This sociopathic behaviour ends in near tragedy.
“I wanted to write of the phenomenon of female attraction for young males without showing it from the male perspective of the ‘lucky boy.’ It was important to show up the double standard of desire.
“It was a conscious risk to write the novel in such a controversial way. I knew many people would dismiss it because it is sexually explicit, and because Celeste feels no guilt.”
The Verdict: A hugely controversial female version of Lolita. Prepare to be charmed yet repelled.
© Sue Leonard 2013