Saturday, April 28, 2012

Interview with Angela Davis-Gardner

Earlier in the month I read the dark, sorrowful, but delightful Butterfly's Child by Angela Davis-Gardner. I'm thrilled to share my interview with Ms. Davis-Gardner; read on to learn more about her book, her writing, and what she does when she's not writing. Plus -- another chance to win a copy of this book!

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

The first fiction I composed was for my brother when I was nine and he was five. We lived in a big apartment complex in Baltimore, and I made up some tales in which a boy and girl found a subterranean world beneath the buildings and secret doors into each apartment. In the stories, the kids would sneak into the apartments and do verboten things like watch t.v. and steal cookies right from the oven. I don’t remember other details, but my brother did; he retold these stories to his kids, decades later. My primary drives as a fiction writer haven’t changed much: to create an imaginary world and to try to keep the reader in suspense. I just love to make things up.

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

I used to have rituals that I followed carefully, and was superstitious about. I felt that unless I wrote in the morning and at my desk, with fountain pen and legal pad, that I couldn’t eke out any words. But I learned the hard way – because I had no choice – that I could write anytime day or night, maybe scribbling on the margins of a grade book or a checkbook ledger. I still prefer to write in the morning, though, after a walk, sitting on my screened porch with pen and paper.

Was Butterfly’s Child the original title of your book?

Yes, this book was unusual in that the title came to me right away. I decided to write about what happened to Butterfly’s child, so that seemed the natural title. Every other book title, though, I’ve sweated for.

As you were writing Butterfly’s Child, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

The character Horatio Keast showed up unexpectedly, and boy, was I relieved. He lent a calm, objective perspective, a steadying presence, and had compassion for all the other characters, each of whom is in some degree of torment. A lot of the plot surprised me too, especially all the parts about the opera.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

I like to dance (clogging), go to concerts and movies, and work in the garden. I also like to draw, and – of course – read!

Read any good books recently?

Some of the best books I’ve read lately are Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son (set in North Korea), Margot Livesay’s The Flight of Gemma Hardy (inspired by Jane Eyre), and Jennifer Egan’s dazzling collection of stories, The Emerald City.

Thank you for your great questions! I really appreciate your interest in my writing.

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I'm thrilled to offer a copy of Butterfly's Child to one lucky reader! To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US/CA readers, ends 5/4.


  1. I think I most love to hear what the authors do when they're not writing and what they're reading. I adored Butterfly's Child, and I have all three of those books in my TBR, so I'll have to find time for them!

  2. I always love to read the varied answers to that first question, and am sometimes saddened that I will never get to see those books! Great interview today. Butterfly's Child is on my ipod to listen to soon, and I am rather excited!