Q&A with Jaye Viner

1. Please describe We The Separate Together in three words.
Dance with me.

2. How did you come up with the title?
I found it in a Half Price Books here in Omaha. It’s similar to the title of another book that was something like, Separate in Our Togetherness, and my brain just clicked. In some ways I’ve found the literalness of the title a bit much but on other days like today, I find in it a certain poetry to describe to what is a very universal and difficult conundrum of people groups with completely antithetical lifestyles and cultures mingling in the same place.

3. What do you think Anselma would say to you if she had the chance?
We would probably talk about difficult parents. She’d remind me that even if they are a lifelong struggle understanding them on some level is worth it because it’s a way to understanding ourselves. Becoming an adult and facing new understanding of both her diabolical father and her ghostly mother certainly gives her the right to tell me not to give up on learning instead of letting relationships stagnate in old knowledge.

4. What is the most difficult thing about writing fantasy?
I’m not a fantasy writer or reader per se. The difficult part of writing fantasy was everything! Sadly, I’m most comfortable in symbolic, stuffy, literary fiction, but We the Separate Together was an idea that couldn’t work except as fantasy; otherwise it would become too bogged down in those very tropes of literary fiction that make it so unappealing to most people. I wanted We the Separate to be as much about another place as it is about our time and place. The fantasy evolved as a sort of antithesis of reality. Recently I’ve been delving into fantasy writing to try and explore. If any readers have recommendations, send ‘em my way!

5. You describe yourself as 'destined for wandering'. How has this influenced your writing?
In some ways it’s a curse. I’ve been watching ABC’s Once Upon a Time this week so I’m inclined to think everything’s a curse right now. But having the insatiable urge to skip town every three or four months can be a problem with vacation hours and a budget and such. You may be thinking a weekend jaunt to another town or a Bed and Breakfast should do it, but no. To feel content with life at home again I have to be out experiencing some new place for at least four days, enough to have it sink in. Also, I’ve lived in the same city for twenty years so the places easily accessible by road trip are pretty much extinguished at this point. I’ve considered going to a doctor for drugs but I think he’d laugh at me.
As such, I’ve learned to curb this yearning by intellectual wandering. This has been the most influential on my writing because it has given me access to new textures of written language, new words, and new worlds. Most of it has come from non-fiction reading in history and sociology and almost everything else. Through this wandering I’ve picked up bits and pieces of other places, new awarenesses, new ideas. I take notes on everything. It never fails to inspire a new novel, usually in such a non linear way that even I have trouble tracing back the to the source after I’ve started a draft.

6. Who influences you as an author and in life?
While writing We the Separate I was reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Her language in that novel was very influential in the texture and rhythm of my writing at the time. In general, I feed on Virginia Woolf especially her later more experimental work, as well as Roberto Bolano, and Jennifer Egan. As I’m currently reading Proust I must comment on his influences on my aesthetic since he was all about how things feel. In that realm I travel in the footsteps of such giants as Francois Truffaut and Federico Fellini with some Michael Haneke nasty and David Fincher brooding thrown in.

7. What is one of your favorite places to wander?
The city centres of continental Europe. I went with friends to Gdansk, Poland one weekend. None of us had ever been but I insisted we didn’t need a map because I could always tell where we were in relation to where we’d been. That ended up not being true, haha, but the point being the prospect of being lost and wandering felt as promising as walking with our heads bent over a map missing the essence of the city. I come from the Midwest where the cities aren’t designed for walkers so being in an area predisposed to walking or public transportation has an added charm for me.

8. Where do you still want to visit?
I’ve never been to Portland, Oregon. It’s getting so much attention these days I have this fear that what makes it Portland may become lost or ‘civilized’ as is almost everything that becomes chic and popular. Southern Spain is also a high priority but I need to learn more about the way life works there before I indulge my wanderlust in such uncharted land.

9. What are you currently reading?
This entire year I have been reading the seven novels of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Currently I’m on The Captive. For ‘lighter’ reading I’m educating myself on two world views I don’t know much about, Animal Rights and Fundamentalist Christian Conservatism, because they’ve inserted myself into my current work in progress. Lucky me, right?

10. What are you working on next?
Just this month I published a second novella, The Circle Game, about a man who isn’t quite a man who, when he comes up against certain realities, they melt him. I’m also writing a novel in two parts, referenced above. In shorthand I’m calling it the, Hollywood, Christian Terrorists, Surfing novel. A woman who ran away from her conservative family finds herself thrown back into their world when she meets a pair of celebrity brothers targeted by a vigilante group who kidnap pop culture icons they deem morally corrupt and put them on show trials. The founder of this group is the woman’s brother. Things get dicey pretty fast.

To find out more about Jaye Viner visit her website: http://www.writecastlesinthesky.blogspot.com/ or check her out on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7107386.Jaye_Viner?from_search=true