Luanne Rice Talks "The Silver Boat", Her Playlist, and More
Mon, 25 Apr 2011 07:43:10
For Luanne Rice, a novel becomes an all-encompassing experience.
"I write songs to go along with my books," says the author with a smile. "I'm addicted to guitars too. I have a beautiful Stratocaster that’s way too good for me, but I love it. I’m definitely a guitar girl!”
There’s a distinct rhythm to Luanne’s writing that’s transfixing and utterly transcendent. It’s easy to feel that flow in her latest novel The Silver Boat. Examining familial relationships between three sisters and a deep connection to Martha’s Vineyard, The Silver Boat captures a myriad of feelings via Luanne’s poignant and often poetic prose. The oldest of the three sisters, Dar, remains endearing at every turn and following her journey might draw a tear or two. Catch The Silver Boat now for one of the most powerful literary journeys you’ll take this year…
Author Luanne Rice sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor scribe Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about The Silver Boat, her favorite music, and so much more.
How important is environment to a novel like The Silver Boat?
The characters come first, but setting is almost like another character to me. It does so much to inform who the people in the story are. Where they come from and what they love is such a big part of who they are. I also love the environment and want to work for it in terms of conservation and saving it as best we can.
Do the relationships and actions arise from the characters once you’ve established them?
Definitely! It’s almost like a mystical experience because the character introduces herself to me through my dreams and thinking sideways. Once she tells me her name, in this case it was Dar McCarthy, I’m ready to start writing the novel. I have to follow her in a sense. I always say that my fingertips are actually more valuable to me than my brain because the story comes out of my fingertips. I channel the character or something crazy like that. I don’t do a lot of inventing; it just happens.
What is it about Dar that resonates the most with you?
She’s the oldest of three sisters, and I’m also the oldest of three sisters. That’s a singular relationship. Anybody who’s in a family trio knows that I’m talking about. She writes graphic novels. She uses her writing in a funny way similar to what I do. It’s to process and make sense of life, not even consciously, but that’s what happens when I write and when Dar draws her graphic novel character. There’s that. Also, Dar had her struggles with alcohol and addiction as did I. She found recovery as did I. That has been a really important part of my life. I feel like the character of Dar is very much informed by that as well. Plus, there’s her love of The Vineyard, the place she grew up in.
That relationship to The Vineyard is crucial.
When I was writing this novel, I feel like one of the questions I was asking as a writer was, “What does home mean to us? It’s not just home in the spiritual larger sense, but the actual structure of a house where people grow up and so much happiness and sorrow is held within the four walls. What does that mean? Is it just a structure, or is it part of the family? That comes down to part of the family for me. It’s not the house but the yard and the setting. The Vineyard is a big part of who Dar is.
Who were you listening to while writing The Silver Boat?
I was listening to Roseanne Cash a lot. Her amazing album, The List, had just come out. I listened to “Motherless Children” over and over. “Flume” from Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago was also in heavy rotation as “Is It Like Today” from Paradise Hotel by Eliza Gilkyson and “Pretty Little Stranger” by Joan Osborne. There was one song that I heard going up the stairs at a friend’s apartment building. I had no idea what it was but I just loved it. One lyric stuck in my mind so I went home and Googled it maniacally. I couldn’t find it at all. Somehow it showed up. It was called “Darker Than Blue” by His Name Is Live. It’s also known as “Train” on some other albums. That song is beautiful and very deep and sad. It’s gorgeous.
Which artists do you always come back to?
Definitely Bruce! I’ve gone to so many Bruce Springsteen concerts! They’re like transcendent experiences. I dedicated The Secret Hour To Him and had the pleasure of sending it to him and getting a nice letter back. I love Bob Dylan and so many singer-songwriters. I love Richard Shindell and Vuelta is a favorite album of mine especially the song “There Goes Mavis.” I love The Strokes. My friend Sarah Walker is in a band called Bad Girlfriend, and I love them. I also love Chris Traynor [Luanne pictured with Chris above]. He’s this absolutely amazing guitarist and musician. I love Bush! I just love music, and I keep open to whatever’s good.
Have you checked out Luanne Rice yet?