Author: H.O. Tanager
Publisher: H.O. Tanager
Performance artist H. O. Tanager holds high hopes for her cross-country trip to Boston: to see great art, to eat delicious food... and to incite mayhem. But once the journey actually begins, it’s all she can do to hold on for the ride. Surrounded by brilliant, intimidating, and sometimes delicious-smelling colleagues, Tanager’s precarious hold on her ambition and desire threatens to unravel in the face of laryngitis, an angry God, and the unexpected death of a friend. Will her team’s independent spirit and wit buoy Tanager though the pitfalls, heartache - and yes, mayhem - as hundreds of artists strive to be the best that ever was, the best that’s ever been?
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Autograph Penis is available at Amazon.
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, H. O. Tanager. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
A: Well, I’ve been competing in poetry slams for 15 years, so I’ve been writing a fairly long time in an incredibly niche discipline! Slam poems are usually limited to three minutes in length – about 450 words from the mouth of a mere mortal, though some poets can squeeze in more than 600 words. It’s a really fun discipline for me, because you always get immediate feedback from the audience response as well as the slam judges.
In “real life,” I’m a psychologist in private practice. Being a psychologist is the perfect complement to being a performance poet, as you are listening rather than performing. Both deal with narrative and truth-telling, though, and that’s my jam.
Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
A: When you look at the nonfiction works about poetry slam, you can find lots of how-to books, histories, and news articles written by outsiders… but nothing about what it is really like to be a slam poet. Nobody tries the way slam poets try – it’s all on the line, every time. And at the same time, it’s a tiny world. I wanted to share that world with a wider audience.
The book covers a weeklong journey with a team of beautiful women poets, from the alarm going off the morning of leaving home, to packing up the hotel room at the end of the journey. In between, there is art, drama, some hijinks, and just a hint of mayhem.
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?
A: The first draft of the book really wrote itself — it’s a chronological series of vignettes that are each as long as one slam poem. Cake. However, I was determined to flesh out the story with a lot of data and fun quotes and samples from other poets… What I’m saying is, the footnotes are various and deep. That took time and a lot of help from my editor.
Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it? Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?
A: I do! It has a bio, photos, a press release, book information, and review information. You can find it at www.HOTanager.com/press-kit
Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so?
A: I have! I launched the book with a mini-tour of venues in NYC and Boston, I’m in the process of booking a radio show and book celebration party at home in Boise, and I plan to visit Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver for another mini-tour.
Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/she is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?
A: I do not have an agent, and frankly, I would love one. I find that working with great, competent, funny people (like my editor and the poetry team described in the book) is a reward in itself and keeps me going.
Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?
A: Other than creating a very fancy blog, finding reviewers, and booking the first mini-tour, no. I am still learning what kind of promotion can be effective – it’s a journey.
Q: Do you plan subsequent books?
A: I do! I am currently interviewing every writer I respect as to what makes a novel a really good novel. I have some weird ideas. It’s exciting.
Q: Thank you for your interview, H. O. Tanager. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
A: Of course! You can read my hashtag-infected blog at www.HOTanager.com, and buy the book on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Autograph-Penis-H-O-Tanager/dp/1502758989
Thanks for having me!
H. O. Tanager is an author, adventurer, and provocateur who divides her time amongst her passions: family, satirical performance pieces, and convincingly wearing slacks. She’s achieved so many things, she finds achievements boring. What she does like is surprise, and people who work hard, juxtaposition, and repurposing forms for her own amusement.
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