Here are some things about one thing.
The one thing being the latest episode of the Storyological podcast in which I interviewed Sam J. Miller about, among other things, growing up gay in upstate New York, struggling with body image and an eating disorder, transforming some of this experience into his first novel, The Art of Starving, transforming lies about the plot of Jaws into a career in fiction, loving Sense8 more than anything, loving love more than anything, loving justice more than anything, and exploring in fiction the ways in which love can be naive and ignorant and even the most evil motherfucker believes the evil shit they do is justified.
So. Yeah. Here are some things about that one thing.
Sam’s first novel, the aforementioned The Art of Starving, comes out this week. Here’s what people are saying.
A dark and lovely tale of supernatural vengeance and self-destruction.
…this book hurts in all the best ways…it takes on the tropes of speculative fiction and YA armed with fire and anger and hunger.
Shirley Jackson Award winner Sam J. Miller’s YA contemporary debut novel is unlike anything I have ever read before, and combines magical realism, dark humor, evocative imagery and prose, and a deep, huge heart to tell a story of loneliness, addiction, body image, first loves, coming out, and self-acceptance. Funny, haunting, beautiful, relentless, and powerful, The Art of Starving is a classic in the making…
All of these people are not wrong.
Sam is a very funny man. You will laugh a lot during this interview.
You will also probably feel inspired.
Sam is a very inspiring man.
I interviewed Sam in Madison, Wisconsin. Both of us were there for WisCon, the feminist SciFi convention.
I had this idea that we should do the interview outside. So, we met in the con hotel lobby and walked down the street to the state capitol building. We sat, leaning against a granite facade, literally in the shadow of state power.
Very early in our conversation, it began to rain. But we kept going. Because I am clearly a horrible person and wanted Sam to suffer 1.
You can’t hear the rain in the interview, though. Or see it, of course. It’s a podcast, not a video.
You’ll just have to imagine it, I guess.
Rain is like hope in that way.
It is kind of amazing.
I met Sam at the Clarion Writers’ Workshop in San Diego, back in 2012.
Here is a blog post Sam wrote about our experience called CLARION 2012: EVERY BRILLIANT PIECE OF WRITING ADVICE.
If I didn’t already love Sam with all of my heart, then doing this interview–and listening to him talk about grief and shame and art and hope with such care and conviction–would have done the trick.
It is possible that, after listening to this interview, you will also love Sam.
I imagine you might.
If you do, then share that love with other people in your life. Tell the world about Sam and his book.
If you don’t share that love, that’s also okay. Maybe don’t tell the world about it, though.
For my part, having met Sam and gotten to know him over the years, I didn’t think it was possible to love Sam more.
But it turned out it was.
Love is nothing if not surprising.
Go read, or listen to, the interview.
Get inspired. Discover a new author you will love. Or discover more about the man you already love.
Now’s as good a time as any to start resisting the world’s tendency to fall apart.
Happy Tuesday, readers.
p.s. That awesome illustration of Sam up there is by E.G. Cosh.
- This isn’t actually true. Well. The rain is true. How could rain not be true? ↩