Author Interview: Connor De Bruler, Goodbye Moonflower

Connor De Bruler is the enigmatic author of Goodbye, Moonflower. The reviews for which can be found here: spoiler free, spoiler full.

You can pick up a copy for yourself through the affiliate link here: Goodbye, Moonflower: A Novel

De Bruler has opted to not answer several questions on this interview. I have included the questions because sometimes silence can say just as much. He has also said that this may be the only interview he ever grants as an author, so please take in his words!

Questions about Writing

Is writing your full time job? Do you also consider it a passion?

Connor De Bruler: No, writing has never been my full-time job. It may never be. I don’t know. Maybe it comes out of my own narcissism or some more noble sense of personal accomplishment, but writing is it. Writing is all there is for me. I have a few more casual hobbies and interests like most people, I imagine, but writing fiction is pretty much my only direction. And in some ways that’s ruined parts of my life as well, because there’s almost no money in it. I do what I have to do to survive and pay rent and contribute, but it’s all for the purpose of keeping myself afloat so I can continue to write. I hope that one day I can write full time.

Amanja: I wish you luck in that, your passion is apparent in your work.

What is your schedule for writing like? Do you make time for writing or do you squeeze writing in when a moment becomes free?

CDB: I like to write in the mornings, but I’ve always had to change based on whatever job I was working at the time. I used to write at night when I went to school, mostly on weekends. I drink coffee when I write. I used to write on my lunch breaks at work. My last job, before the pandemic, I didn’t have enough money to buy lunch, so I pretended I was doing intermittent fasting to lose weight (I’m chubby) and I just drank free coffee and worked on my book for an hour everyday. At the previous job, I used an old electric typewriter that my office had in the storage room which drove everyone nuts. I’ve written on the backs of receipts, envelopes, torn-off labels. I have notebooks at home full of first drafts and re-written scenes and exed-out failures.

How much planning goes in to writing before you actually write a sentence? Or do you just let the words flow and do heavy editing later?

CDB:       Writing is thinking. So, I just start writing. I’m still learning. Goodbye, Moonflower is the only book where I actually rewrote the beginning chapter. I’m too embarrassed to give an example of how poor that first draft was.

How do you handle criticism or negative feedback on your writing?

CDB: It hurts. But you learn your skills gradually. I think I was lucky in that most of my negative feedback, so far, came in my high school days. I started publishing in zines around 16. I’m 29 now. I don’t want to out someone close to me, but there’s one person who used to just hurang the shit out of me when I gave them something to read. I mean get really angry and offended not only by mistakes but the general vibe of my stuff and what it was I had to say. I got punished for writing certain things. This is when I was a kid. I published a story in a Portland-based punk zine called ‘The Toilet-Paper Mummies of Gaston, Alabama.’ It was a cry for help. Anyway…so far people have really responded to my stuff but eventually, somebody’s going to say something negative and they might be right depending on what their issue is and I’ll be hurt, but that’s just part of creating something. Nothing is impervious to criticism. Writing in particular is basically like holding up your hand and telling people to take a shot at you.

A: I’m sorry you didn’t receive the encouragement or help you needed at that time.

Do you have any tips and tricks for aspiring writers?

CDB gave no response

Questions about Reading

Do you think it’s necessary for a good author to also be a prolific reader?

CDB gave no response

How do you find time to read?

CDB gave no response

Does reading give you inspiration for writing? If so what books have inspired you?

CDB gave no response

Who’s an author that you think is criminally under-read?

CDB:       Fred Grove. Grove was an indigenous novelist and sports columnist from the Osage Nation who wrote Westerns and Neo-Noir Mysteries. He wrote from the 50s to the 80s. Just a terrific writer who wrote from multiple perspectives. There was a famous non-fiction book a few years ago about the Osage Oil Murders in Oklahoma called “Killers of the Flower Moon” and that historical massacre was Fred Grove’s real-life childhood which he later used for his fiction. My favorite novel of his is “Warrior Road” about a murder mystery on the Osage reservation in the 1920s.

A: Huh, that sounds very interesting but it looks like Warrior Road may not be widely available anymore. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for it.

What’s a book from your childhood that holds a special place in your heart?

CDB: Vanishing by Bruce Brooks

Questions about Your Book

The protagonist Lemmie is an African American woman. She’s a little different than your own reflection. How did you set about creating this character?

CDB gave no response

Locksmithing is a profession most of us don’t see a lot in books and other media. Do you have personal experience or did the profession simply line up well with the story you had in mind?

CDB:       I locked myself out of my car twice and ended up picking the same locksmith’s brain about the field. I found it interesting.

There are some very disturbing scenes and imagery in Goodbye, Moonflower. When you were outlining or editing did you ever get notes or even think for yourself that any of it should be tamed down? (I’m glad it wasn’t!)

CDB gave no response

How did you come up with the title Goodbye, Moonflower? It’s a vague and mysterious title that even after reading the book is somewhat disconnected from the events therein.

CDB: The title came to me as a kind of prayer, something that isn’t written explicitly in the text of the story, but something Lemmie needs to say on the inside. You should run the second epigraph to the novel through a translation program online. It comes from the Hungarian song “Gloomy Sunday.” The singer talks about white flowers, a funeral bouquet. It made me think of dogwoods and moonflowers.

You managed to create an entire afterlife ideology within a 250 page book! Does any of this mirror your personal beliefs?

CDB: No. That’s all part of the joy of fiction. I’m an atheist who wishes magic was real.

A: Same

Questions about You/ Just for Fun

What is something mundane that doesn’t seem to bother most people but drives you absolutely insane?

CDB gave no response

What’s the best trip you’ve ever taken?

CDB: I was fortunate enough to visit Croatia when I was younger and lived overseas. I really love that country and its people.

What’s your favorite present you’ve ever received?

CDB gave no response

If a stranger wanted to win you over, how would they start the conversation?

CDB: I like to practice my Spanish. I try to speak as much as I can when I’m out and about. They could ask me a question in Spanish.

A: That’s how I feel about my very rusty German.

What’s something you would scream at your younger self until you were sure they heard you?

CDB gave no response

Where Can People Find You?

CDB: I have no Facebook or website or twitter. I am on Goodreads now.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

CDB: Black Lives Matter. Down with Trump. Fight the white-supremacist gangs. And if you live in South Carolina like me, please go out and vote for Jaime Harrison for senate. If possible, please donate or volunteer with his election campaign.

A: Amanja Reads too Much supports the authors sentiments that Black Lives Matter and Down with Trump.

I love comic books, nonfiction, and everything in between! Come discuss your favorites!

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