In the Spotlight
Atticus Review, Book Review Editor
Orlando, FL Member Since: 2014
About: Sam Slaughter is the author of the novel Dogs (forthcoming in January 2016) and the chapbook When You Cross That Line (May 2015). In addition to his work with Atticus, he serves as Contributing Editor at Entropy and Fiction Editor at Black Heart Magazine. In the fall, he'll start working toward his MFA at the University of South Carolina.
What are you reading right now?
I'm reading a few different things, including Jason Oeckert's Wasp Box and George Singleton's Between Wrecks for a review. I'm also reading a book on the history of radio and a book about creativity in practice.
If you could meet any writer, who would it be? What would you say to her or him?
Ernest Hemingway and Kurt Vonnegut, but seeing as both are impossible, I'd like to meet Anthony Bourdain. I'd love to have a conversation about writing and cooking and draw some parallels between the two. I cook, though not professionally, and I've always felt the two arts correspond.
What do your books look like once you’ve finished reading them?
They're a mess, usually. Highlighter, pen, pencil, marker—they've got everything on them. I don't usually have dog-eared pages, but a number of my books have post-it mohawks sprouting out of them. There are notes everywhere, too, though they're probably illegible to anyone but me.
Which book should be required reading for young people?
I don't think any one book should be required. I think a child should find a type of book that she or he enjoys and go from there. Once she or he develops a love of reading, then recommendations and requirements can start. You need to get children in the door first.
Do you feel influenced by your peers to produce a certain type of creative work, or do you feel free to follow your own interests and passions?
I rely mostly on my own passions and interests, but only because my mind functions like I imagine a puppy's does—I'm into so many things at once that I'm never really struggling to find something new to research or learn about or attempt to do. I'm sure my peers influence my work to an extent, but it's not a conscious thing. Or maybe it is. I don't know.
Describe your writing process.
I try to write every day. Sometimes I don't get to, though, and I'm still working on the part where I don't beat myself up over it. When I do write, it is until I feel like I've lost my energy. It's a gut thing. When I'm writing, I feel like I'm on top of the world, and when I've exhausted that feeling, I know I'm done for the day. As far as other variables, it depends. Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes white noise, sometimes nothing. I usually type because it's faster, but if a line or something strikes me when I'm not in front of a computer, I carry scraps of paper and pen to write whatever it is down. I have an entire shoebox of those scraps.
Would you like to share a project you are currently working on?
I'm currently working on my second novel. It is about old time radio, communication theory, and a family falling apart as they attempt to deal with an accident. I also just finished a full-length collection of stories, God in Neon, and I am currently trying to find a home for that.
Who or what do you follow online?
I follow my writer friends, obviously, but I also follow every journal or publisher I would love to have work with. It helps me get a sense of what they look for and how their tastes evolve.