Urban Fantasy steps up
A Q&A with writer Daniel José Older on the day his novel Half-Resurrection Blues is released
"Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death."
Daniel José Older is busy today. Not only is it the release day of his second book and first novel, Half-Resurrection Blues, he's scheduled to do a reading in New York City later tonight, and — as this is being uploaded — is conducting a "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit.
He's used to multi-tasking. For years he was an EMT and a writer and a professional musician all at the same time. He was able to drop the EMT job after the success of his first book, Salsa Nocturna, a collection of ghost-noir short stories published in 2012 (read AL DÍA's interview with him, in Spanish, here).
The Brooklyn-based author graciously agreed to answer our questions even as he fielded other questions being posed to him from the Reddit and at the same time responded to an impressive number of congratulatory messages on his Twitter timeline.
AL DÍA: Half Resurrection Blues launched today. How are you feeling?
Are you imagining people reading it even as we speak? Who?
Why this book, at this moment?
New York City is so much a part of your writing, can you ever imagine yourself writing about another city in the same way?
What about Havana? You've been working on a non-speculative novel set there, right? When is that slated for publication?
Staying with Cuba for a second — what do you think about the recent rapprochement? Are you hopeful in view of the immediate crackdown that followed the announcement?
Latin American literature has always had a strong connection to the political. How do you see this as an important part of your work? Of U.S. Latino literature in general? Do you think there is a difference between U.S. activist writers and Latin American?
You write a lot of non-fiction pieces for Buzzfeed, Salon, even an occasional piece for AL DÍA ;) , is there an intersection with the fiction?
Do you think of yourself as a storyteller within a particular tradition?
Do you write any pieces wholly in Spanish?
"In terms of other styles, I love the idea of the Montuno — the part of a Cuban bolero when everything goes haywire and the singers chant a chorus over and over while the instruments take turns improvising. It always happens at the end and reminds me of the way a great story climaxes. I try to capture some of that in my fiction."