Q&A with Anneke Majors on her new novel

Writer, designer/illustrator and AMV co-blogger Anneke Majors has recently self-published her second novel The Year of the Boar. She was gracious enough to answer some questions about it**.
What is The Year of the Boar about and what was your writing process for it like?

I’m going to give the long version of the answer first, which begins with Jorge Luis Borges. I love his short stories, and one of my favorites is “The Garden of Forking Paths.” In that story, the characters discuss the existence of a novel which is also a labyrinth; a novel which follows multiple “paths” and alternate realities at once. With this concept, Borges is considered the inventor of the hypertext novel, the concept behind such later innovations as “choose your own adventure.” Reading “The Garden of Forking Paths,” and another postmodern classic, Italo Calvino’s If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler, as an undergrad, started me thinking about postmodern story structure and time and ultimately led to The Year of the Boar. My story is not nearly as complex or tradition-bending as Borges or Calvino, but that’s where it has its origins. The timeline of The Year of the Boar is based on the Chinese Zodiac, something I’ve been fascinated with since I was a child reading the placemats at my grandparents’ favorite Chinese restaurant. The concept of the years of the zodiac, and that restaurant, and my grandparents, actually, show up in the first chapter of the book. The rest of the book is structured by year ““ scenes take place first in 1957, then 1969, 1981, 2005 ““ all the year of the rooster. Part two of the book goes back in time to 1946 and begins a series of stories in the year of the dog. Part three begins with another backtrack in time, resolving storylines in the titular year of the boar. Continue reading “Q&A with Anneke Majors on her new novel”

All the Great Lights

Note. The following is an excerpt from a collection of missionary-memoir short stories by S.P. Bailey called All the Great Lights. You can read the complete collection at S.P. Bailey’s website. And please comment here! Reaction to the story would be great. But it might also be interesting to engage in a conversation about self-publishing in this manner. Is it extremely shameful? Or just sort of pathetic? Does publication by some small Mormon press–or even Deseret Book–really ensure quality or add meaningful prestige? Another topic worth discussing might be the missionary-memoir genre and its place in Mormon letters. Other topics would be fun too. Please comment!

11. The Sickness

Elder Hargrave’s homesickness was palpable every day he spent in the MTC. There was something precious about him writing letters home or carefully opening his family’s many packages to him. Hargrave taped a tiny portrait of his girlfriend inside the front cover of his “white bible,” the book of mission rules most elders carry in the left breast pockets of their white dress shirts. He looked at that picture so often that some missionaries must have thought he was contemplating key rules like “[y]ou and your companion are to sleep in the same bedroom, but not in the same bed.” Continue reading “All the Great Lights”