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    Genre Attraction

    Michele Karlsberg: What genre are your books and what draws you to this genre?

    Ocean Vuong: My genre is poetry.

    I think I am drawn to it because, in the space of the poem, I am often writing to the terrified versions of myself. And maybe all I really want to say—if anything at all—is that you (whoever you are) are not alone. Maybe because this is what some of the most important writers in my life have been telling me over and over again in their myriad and unique ways. I go back to the boy I once was, the boy who hid in the library during recess to read a book covered in his lap so no one will know he has betrayed “fun” for secrets. So no one will know he loves words. Because lovers of words were thought to be weak and effeminate. And effeminate boys were strange and strange things don’t last very long in this world. So I read to find my own hand inside the books. To touch myself on each page, saying, “I am here. I am here. I am here.”

    (Ocean Vuong is a recipient of a 2014 Pushcart Prize and the author of No (YesYes Books, 2013). His poems appear in Poetry, The Nation, Beloit Poetry Journal, TriQuarterly, and the American Poetry Review, which awarded him the 2012 Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets.)

    Jennifer McCormick: My genre is science fiction and fantasy.

    What draws me to this genre is the limitless possibilities the genre has to offer. I’ve always liked to look up at the stars and think, “I wonder what is out there?”

    Science fiction and fantasy give us the chance to explore those infinite possibilities, to imagine what life would be like on other worlds different, and sometimes not so different, from our own.

    michelleAnother aspect of the genre I find appealing is the world building. Building a world in science fiction is both fun and challenging because the world and its people need to be fleshed out, the history of the world presented to the reader in a way that is entertaining. It falls to the author to create a universe that is as rich and diverse in culture as our own, and that task can be challenging at times. In a world that has been created entirely from the author’s imagination, no rules exist to govern the nature of that realm. Every place, every creature, and every culture needs to be given the customs and laws that make it function as part of the whole. It can be a daunting process, but in the end it is well worth the work to be able to look back and glimpse into a world that lives and breathes on paper.


    (Jennifer McCormick is the author of The Midas Conspiracy and the fantasy novel The Withering.)

    Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in publicity for the LGBT community. This year, Karlsberg celebrates twenty-five years of successful book campaigns.