Join John Banks, author of the literary fiction novel, Glorify Each Day (819 Publishing), as he virtually tours the blogosphere September 5 – October 28 2011 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
John Banks was born in Asheville, NC. His storytelling is very much in the Southern tradition, with a special affinity for humorists such as Mark Twain and the Old Southwest school of writers. Though entirely imaginary, much of the material in Glorify Each Day must have come from his many years as a teacher in the public schools and community colleges of his native state and from the three years he spent as an a community college administrator.
Visit the author’s tour page at Pump Up Your Book!
Purchase Glorify Each Day in book or kindle format at Amazon
About Glorify Each Day
Glorify Each Day is a darkly comical novel depicting the consequences of violence in modern American life. It tells many stories. Tommy “Teach” Morrison, the novel’s main character, tells the story of his relationship with his childhood friend Charles – a story of a horrible misunderstanding and a story that Tommy can never retell. It tells the story of Tommy and Cait, a story of shared love and shared jokes, but a story that Tommy has doomed to end unhappily.
Glorify Each Day is the story of how Tommy becomes Teach, a man on a mission and on a quest for redemption – instructor extraordinaire (at least in his own mind) who must become the protector of all the ill-fated youngsters put in his charge. It is the story of Teach and his father, a crusty, foul-mouthed abuser of everyone around him and proof that nuts don’t fall very far from the tree.
Glorify Each Day is a story about storytelling and the many different ways to tell a story – stories about Teach’s students; about superheroes, Jesus, races, raps, rapes; about a young woman who learns how to forgive her father, another young woman who learns how to forgive herself, and another young woman who learns that she doesn’t need anyone’s forgiveness. And these are stories that Teach should be able to learn something from, too, stories that shine a light on lives disfigured by violence and loss.
Q: Do you work from an outline?
Yes and no. I always have a mental outline of where I am and where I’m going, but I didn’t actually write out an outline while I was working on Glorify. I would describe it as an imaginary roadmap that I’m following. Imagine yourself starting off on a road trip – you can easily name all the cities you plan to pass through, and imagine what much of the scenery will look like, and you will keep certain landmarks and mileposts in mind as you’re driving – but you know there will be lots of unknown territory and surprises along the way.
Q: What’s next for you?
I’m currently doing research into various historical milieus I’m planning to incorporate into a tall tale about America’s self-proclaimed “manifest destiny.”
Q: Who is your favorite author, and why?
Philip Roth will always be my favorite author because I read Portnoy’s Complaint and knew, as I was reading, that I was reading the funniest book I had ever read as well as the most serious book I had ever read. And that’s the gold standard I try to keep in mind as I’m writing. Runners-up in that category would be Catch-22 by Joseph Heller and The Blood of the Lamb or Reuben, Reuben by Peter DeVries, who is a writer more people need to read.
Q: What are a few of your favorite genres and why?
I don’t know how common or uncommon this is, but for a writer of fiction I read very little fiction. I tend to read whatever I feel will help my writing, and I’m no longer looking for fiction-writing influences. Throughout college all I read was fiction because those fiction-writing influences were all I was after; now, I read mostly history, science, and the social sciences. The last fiction I read was Infinite Jest, a couple of years ago.
Q: In writing your book/novel if you could do it again what would you do differently?
It was such a wonderful experience writing this novel that I don’t think I would change a thing. But I don’t want to duck your question, so I guess the one thing I could have done differently is, once I decided to self-publish I could have added as much to the manuscript as I wanted. I was very conscious of the word count. Everybody who is somebody tells first-time novelists to keep their manuscript under 100,000 words if they expect to have any chance of landing a publisher. I could have written a lot more about these characters. But, the truth is, most novels suffer more from obesity than malnutrition, so I think putting a self-imposed limit on how much I wrote helped keep everything tight on on-task. There were a couple of minor themes I would have liked to touch on a bit more, but I don’t think it would have improved the final product.
Q: Time Frame: From start to finish
I wrote Glorify Each Day really quickly. I started writing it in late February or early March 2010 and had a finished first draft by late June 2010. Of course, as soon as I had the first draft finished I immediately started doing rewrites. Interestingly, the fewest rewrites were in the sections where I assumed the writing voices of GED students writing practice essays. It’s almost like it came easier for me to write in “other” voices than in what I consider to be my own narrative voice.
Q: Have you ever abandoned any books/novels in progress?
I started writing a novel as soon as I graduated college and it was a very frustrating experience. I had written short stories but had never attempted anything novel-length. I knew I had the drive and ambition necessary to see a novel through to completion, and I thought I had the talent needed as well, but I think now, looking back several years, that I was too trapped inside my own head at the time to be really open to all the creative possibilities that I’m aware of now. I wasn’t able to “think outside the box,” as the cliché goes. So I had a lot of days where nothing would budge and the ideas just weren’t coming and after a few months I decided to put the “novel” aside for awhile. I had only written maybe fifty pages of usable prose. I didn’t think I was actually going to abandon the idea I had for a novel – such as it was — but once I got a full-time job and had gotten married, and thought about what a struggle it had become to come up with good material, it became easy for me not to write and eventually it became clear that I had indeed abandoned the novel I had always wanted to write. Just for the record, Glorify Each Day is not that novel. I had no trouble coming up with interesting ideas for Glorify – it’s definitely “outside the box.”