How did you first learn about FC2?
Lynn K. Kilpatrick: I first heard about FC2 when I was an editor at Quarterly West, the literary magazine at the University of Utah. We published several of their authors and FC2 would send us books when they were published. Sometime in there I bought Brian Evenson’s The Wavering Knife. I was also a fan of Michael Martone’s writing so when when I was working on the board of Writers at Work we invited him to come to Salt Lake. After he came, we invited Ralph Berry. Meeting with Ralph was the first time I thought that maybe my work would be appropriate for FC2.
Tell us about In The House.
Kilpatrick: I think the final story in the collection’s title “Domestic Drama” accurately describes the collection In The House as a whole. The stories really investigate domestic situations and the space of the house. I used to write a lot of poetry, so many of the stories imply more than they actually dramatize. The stories as a whole are interested in the relationship between form and development. More than one reader has remarked on the presence of knives in this collection.
FC2’s mission statement says, “The Fiction Collective Two is devoted to publishing fiction considered by America’s largest publishers too challenging, innovative, or heterodox for the commercial milieu.” Will you elaborate on what it means to write challenging, innovative, and heterodox fiction?
Kilpatrick: I think a lot of fiction being written today falls under the description “challenging.” Writing innovative fiction means exploring fiction in new ways. For me, often, that means experimenting with form and language. When I write innovative fiction, more often than not I’m trying to find the edge where fiction meets other forms.
Steve Katz has written that the Fiction Collective began with the desire to “make a literature.” What does that phrase mean to you?
Kilpatrick: I like how this phrase acknowledges a multiplicity of Literatures. I think at this point in the history of writing and publishing more exciting things are going on than ever. To me, it means that FC2 is trying to bring together many fictions that have something in common: a creation of the new.
For what FC2 backlist title are you an evangelist?
Kilpatrick: So many. Well, I’ll pick two. The Garden In Which I Walk by Karen Brennan. She was a very important teacher for me, and this collection inspired me a lot in that it provided a model for what a collection could be. Impotent by Matthew Roberson. I had an experience with this book that I don’t have very often, which is that I heard Matt read from it at an FC2 reading and then I bought it and read it on the plane home. I couldn’t put it down. It’s a great book in that it’s formally innovative and emotionally rich. It’s also a compelling portrait of domesticity from a male perspective, which I appreciate. I felt very at home in this book.
[interview conducted by FC2 Fellow Rachel Levy in 2012 and published at FC2 dot org in 2017]