What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Cenotaphs?
I was interested in the topic of platonic love between a man and woman. There are few novels written in this area, and I wanted to explore it in detail. I was also interested in the idea of connection at first sight. Sometimes two very different people meet and are connected in some fundamental way they don’t understand. I wanted to explore an instance where that happened between an old man and a younger woman who on the surface had little in common. I also wanted to play with form in this novel more so than I’ve done in the past. The novel is structured as alternating chapters of Ben’s musings and more traditional Samantha/Ben scenes. I’m really happy with the structure of the novel because it serves the story so well.
If you woke up in the world of Cenotaphs, what is the first thing you would do?
I’d visit Ben and Samantha at the cabin for a cup of coffee and a little free advice. I’d give Ben’s dog, Zeke, something to eat.
If you had to write a blurb for the last book you read, what would it say?
“Who are you?” and “Where does the world come from?” Sophie comes home from school one day and, unexpectedly, charts a course to answer these questions.
Say you now host a literary-themed talk show (congrats). Who would be your first guest? What would you ask that person?
One of my favorite novels is The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. I would love to have him on the show to discuss that novel and philosophy in general.
Where did you write Cenotaphs?
I have a writing studio at my house which I built a number of years ago. Like all of my novels including the ones I’m working on now, The Means of Keeping and In the Seat of the Eddas, I wrote Cenotaphs there.
Pretend you qualified for the Olympics this year. What sport would you compete in?
I was a sprinter when I was young and competed in the 100M and 200M races. I loved running and hoped to compete in college, but I was injured my senior year and had to retire. So I would compete in those two events.
Connect with Rich Marcello
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