Every time we release a book, we’ll post an interview with its author during the month before the book is published. Our next novel, The Land of the Purple Ring, comes out on May 5th. "Lotpur," as we affectionately call it for short, is a wonderfully imaginative adventure story like no other, and we are interviewing the mastermind behind it: Deborah Natelson, our inimitable CEO.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
The Writing Compulsion (genus: Inspiration) is one of the most insidious, inexplicable, inexorable, and intractable items in the construction site of Imaginarium. Often mistaken for a jellyfish when isolated, the Writing Compulsion spreads out over its host’s brain, sending tendrils into every crack and crevice, merging with every lobe and electrical field, influencing every thought and integrating with every action so thoroughly that it soon can no longer be distinguished or extracted from its host. Nor would many hosts wish to extract it, for though when ignored it causes agony, when its wholly unreasonable demands are fulfilled it exudes chemical satisfaction beyond any other accomplishment.
Where did you get the inspiration for The Land of the Purple Ring?
Give me a random word, please. Now another. Oh, you want me to write about knitting and mountains? Naturally, all mountains are knitted. There is an entire clan of oysters who do nothing all day but knit mountains. That’s why mountains have so many trees on them: the yarn pills. The center of each mountain is, of course, a pearl—for pearls are formed by layers and layers of nacre. The oysters who form mountains use a nacre-like substance, except that it extends from them like spider’s web . . .
You see? Like that.
Who is your biggest writing inspiration?
Walter Moers. L. Frank Baum. Norton Juster. Roald Dahl. Vivian Vande Velde. James Thurber. W.S. Gilbert.
But since this is supposed to be a singular answer, I’d say: the alphabet.
It just has it all.
Tell us one weird, interesting tidbit about yourself.
I have five fingers.
(on each hand)
(including the thumb)
What does your writing space look like?
It has no look; it has only sound. The sound of my cackling laughter.
How long have you been writing this book?
Honestly? I wrote the first draft in three months. Then I rewrote it by the time six months had passed. That was, oh, about a year and a half before publication, during which time I did some editing.
This book wanted to be written so desperately, it practically wrote itself. Maybe it too had a parasitic brain jellyfish infection.
Which character do you identify the most with in your book?
The kheir, whose bones constantly pop in and out of alignment so that it terrorized chiropractors until they appealed to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe to put a stop to it.