Thursday, May 5, 2011

An Exclusive Interview with Ofelia Hunt

OFELIA HUNT might not be 100% real, but she writes 100% real books. Her first novel, Today & Tomorrow, is forthcoming from Magic Helicopter Press in a mere 10 days. To get the mills milling, our brave intern Alicia LaRosa ventured into a correspondence with the mysterious Hunt "herself." As we get closer to the release date, we might give you more details about who Hunt "really" is, or we might just link to pictures of Will Smith and tell you that's a clue to Ofelia's "real" name. Or we might just tell you to look on the copyright page of the book itself. The important thing to remember is that OFELIA HUNT IS BACK and MAY 15TH: THE TODAY TOMORROW COMES.

AL: In Today & Tomorrow, did you deliberately place "Tomorrow" smack in the middle of the book? (When it opens, "Tomorrow" is directly in the middle of the spine). Was it a precise, diabolical plan or was it an unconscious decision?

OH: I have many diabolical plans, but sadly, this was not one. I began with the restriction of two parts in two days and arbitrarily named them 'Today' and 'Tomorrow' in my Word document. Initially each 'day' was to have twenty-four chapters—which may have lead to the center placement of 'Tomorrow'. I abandoned the twenty-four chapter structure because it looked annoying in Word, and because Ofelia Hunt did/does not like paragraph breaks (and so every place where there was a paragraph break became a chapter).

AL: Do you take on a specific persona as Ofelia Hunt? Do you dig deep within yourself to find this person, detach yourself from reality this way by projecting this personality, or do you simply act au naturale?

OH: I'd like to say I put on a special bathrobe and eye makeup and kitten slippers. But I'm far more boring. I decided Ofelia liked a number of specific things and typed them out: 11 point Garamond, hyphens, repetition, trickery, 'math rock', parking lots… I made a list of writers Ofelia admires: Jean Rhys, Gertrude Stein, William Faulkner, Stacey Levine, Franz Kafka, Lydia Davis, Kenneth Koch, Kurt Vonnegut, Lisa Jarnot, Diane Williams, Joy Williams, etc... Ofelia Hunt does not like or understand plot. Her favorite move is Suicide Club (a Japanese movie sometimes called Suicide Circle). I woke every day for about two years at four a.m. to write and revise for sixty to ninety minutes before work. This may have detached me from reality. I remember feeling tired a lot, and listening to a lot of hiphop. Ofelia often writes about the kinds of things I muse about throughout a day, the things I find funny or strange. I think of Ofelia as both the "I" in the novel and the writer of the novel, so the novel may be a memoir.

AL: Are any of the characters in the novel based off of people you know personally? Related to?

OH: No, or not really. At most, certain moments, memories, instances, are based on reality. I grew up near Highland Ice Arena, and throughout middle school the Friday night skate was the place to be. I'd like to say that every character is a composite of every person I've ever met if that composite had been born me. The grandfather character is probably the parent I wish I had, and to some degree, has a sense of humor very much like my mother's.

AL: If you had to pick one day of your life to live over and over again, just like Bill Murray did in Groundhog Day, which day would it be?

OH: Probably the day I moved to Portland with my partner. That day was full of possibility and exhaustion and carrot cake.

AL: Who is the man in the corner?

OH: I don't actually know. When I was very small, and sometimes even now, in darkness, as I pass near parked cars, the image of a very long arm reaching to grab my ankles appears in my mind. It is possible that this arm is the man in the corner.

Read excerpts of Today & Tomorrow in NOÖ Journal and Alice Blue Review. Stay tuned for more info about the novel and exclusive Ofelia Hunt secrets!

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