Author Neda Disney has lived in England, Los Angeles, and New York. She studied painting and sculpture and has worked in film, TV, and radio. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. Visit her website at https://nedadisney.com/.
1. Why are you writing Planting Wolves (or any book), now? Why not five years ago? Why not two years ago? What happened to make this the right time to write it?
Hi, Jay. My favorite questions are from other writers, like yourself. A good thread to pull.
I was married. I had a lot of responsibilities in terms of being on boards of directors, navigating stepsons, our baby, and on some level a loss of confidence in myself as a person.
Why now? My now ex-husband gave me a big push towards myself. After we were separated, actually. He’s a great father and we are a solid family. Art had been missing from both our lives. We picked it up again and are each other’s biggest fans.
2. As a public radio journalist, you must have followed the lives of a lot of interesting people. Does anything in your journalism world influence the characters in Planting Wolves?
Well, I was a watcher and recorder then an interpreter of information. A very straightforward job in some ways but I always took in the speaker more than what they were saying. Luckily I covered the arts and not the news. I got to study how people communicate very, very differently from one another. It’s very important to convey those differences. Haven’t you ever read a book where all the characters have the same voice? It’s weird.
3. Are you more interested in characters than in plot? Why or why not?
I can tell that you’ve read my book. It’s been said that it’s short on plot but so is life. It felt uncomfortable for me to write the three acts way. “Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins her back” Mine is more like “boy kills himself, girl is not a nice person. Another boy’s hands are bleeding and some girl is a bartender in purgatory.” By the way, you can read the chapters in any order and it all turns out the same. You can’t do that with a linear plot.
4. The interconnections between the six characters is intriguing. What is it about human connection that fascinates you the most?
Well- you know how it is… you’ll meet someone at a party or something and it turns out you’d lived a block away from each other years ago or know many of the same people yet you’ve never met. That happens to me a lot with people who used to live in lower Manhattan back when I did.
Everything would have turned out differently if we’d met. Or maybe not. How on earth were we never aware of each other while we walked on the same sidewalk and talked to the same people? I love that!
5. Did you already “know” your characters when you began to write, or did they create themselves as you went along? Give us examples of how they may have created themselves?
They definitely created themselves. Didn’t yours? The timber of their voices and the particular landscapes let me know what neighborhood they lived and worked in. And then they showed me what they did every day and the things that really freaked them out. Little confidences they shared a bit at a time.
6. Why magical realism? What is it that suits your writing style?
I’m actually not sure! I didn’t do it purposely. That’s just what happened to them in my mind.
7. Do you think Planting Wolves is a work of literary fiction? Do you care if it is? How important is genre to you?
I’m sure it’s fiction. I didn’t write it with any genre in mind. I just wrote it down as I thought it up. I mean, it could be sci-fi even.
8. What are you reading these days?
I’m not reading because I’m writing. Things stick to my subconscious and I can’t risk it.
9. When can we expect the next book by Neda Disney to be available?
Summertime, I hope. Thank you for asking. Your questions made me want to read your books.
Jay’s interview with Neda Disney is part of an ongoing series of author interviews. Click here to review Jay’s other interviews.