Monday, October 31, 2011

Interview with Corwin Ericson and Giveaway - October 31, 2011

Please welcome Corwin Ericson to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Corwin:  The simple fact that I write is quirk enough. Sitting tight and concentrating is difficult, but probably quite boring to observe. Lots of staring spells and bad posture. I’m not sure I understand the “joy of writing.” A good day of writing often leaves me feeling muddle-headed and intolerant.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Corwin:  If Swell were a stew, some of the significant ingredients might be Homer, Melville, Chandler, and Voltaire. I recently finished reading The Long Ships by Frans Bengsstom and loved it. I’m looking forward eagerly to reading A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In, the new novel by Magnus Mills. The same goes for Nicholson Baker’s House of Holes. This summer I read and truly enjoyed a pair of short books about cranky elders on little Scandinavian islands: The Old Man and His Sons by Heðin Brú and The Summer Book by Tove Jansson.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Corwin:  I almost always wear pants as I plot.

TQ:  Describe Swell in 140 characters or less.

Corwin:  This is like a Tweet, right? I used to think “blog” was the stupidest new word. Tweet is stupider. Swell is about a man, an island and a whale. It’s shorter than Moby-Dick.

TQ: What inspired you to write Swell?

Corwin:  I wanted to find out what lay beyond what I usually thought and wrote about. I was astonished to discover there was an end to my procrastination. I wish I had a handy answer--another writer or a book--but really it’s the sum of what was on my mind. Sometimes that seemed like quite a bit; other times, fog and darkness.

TQ: What sort of research did you do for Swell?

Corwin:  I read about Norse and American Indian mythology. Northeast island life. The Kalevala. The Arctic. Bears, lampreys, whales. I live in a small town on a small mountain in inland western Massachusetts, just like Herman Melville did while he was writing Moby-Dick. I figured if he could do that, I could too. Of course I conveniently did not remind myself that I had not ever been a whaler, nor had I jumped ship and lived on a South Pacific island. I did not research fishing or island life first-hand. I’d like to spend some more time on islands. I hope I never have to be a professional fisherman.

TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Corwin:  I had some fun writing Mr. Lucy, a crotchety geezer, though I don’t know if it was necessarily easy. Writing the protagonist, Orange Whippey, was easily the hardest, since the novel is in first-person, and he did the most of the storytelling work.

TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Swell?

Corwin:  I suppose I have a fondness for scenes where men struggle to behave themselves in small spaces--like Ishmael and Queequeg, Daffy and Porky, Laurel and Hardy. I wrote a few scenes like those: in beds, saunas, and boats.

TQ: What's next?

Corwin:  I’ll be reading from Swell all over the place, where, during Q&As, I’ll be dodging this very question. I’d like to become healthy and wealthy and happy, but instead I’ll probably keep working on my next book. should be the source for updates and readings.

I’m also a contributing editor of Bateau Press: We’re reading submissions for the journal and for the next poetry chapbook now.

TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Corwin:  You’re welcome.

About Swell

Dark Coast Press, October 25, 2011
Trade Paperback, 390 pages

Stranded on Wreck Rock, a bad day only gets worse when Orange is conscripted into service on board the Wendy's Mom.

After a drunken fall from the ruins of a navy ship and the ill-advised ingestion of a stimulating new drug, Orange is rescued by Angie Bombadier, a fetching and forthright fellow Islander.

But with the arrival of Snoori – a Finlindian whale herder on a quest to find the fabled hyperborea – and Waldena – a harpoon wielding Thor-cult prestess – the waters surrounding Bismuth get rough and Orange finds himself at the center of a search for a missing package.

Rumors swirl and dangers escalate, turning the serene isle upside-down. For things to be set right again, the package must be found and given to its rightful recipient.

Snorri is well-heeled and fiercely indomitable, yet drawn to Orange's own personal brand of complacency and coerces him into joining ranks. Korean smugglers also enlist Orange's help with their search (among other things). At the same time Waldena pursues the package for her own reasons. Perilous yet lithe, her frequent interrogations leave Orange terrified but oddly excited... that is until he learns that his life might actually be in danger.

A vast North Atlantic is teeming with mythical whales and epic tales. Cruising the open water, Orange drinks gallons of coffee and beer, barbeques squid, and even stumbles into a sweltering sauna with the alluring Bombardier sisters. Aboard the Honeypaws, he is set on course to encounter an ancient council that is helping secretly create the WhaleNet, a cell phone network made of migrating whales. The council's possible ulterior motvies could hold the surprising and bizarre resolution to Orange's journey.

Drawing from the various satiric traditions of Neil Gaiman, Thomas Pynchon, and Christopher Moore, Swell is full of legend and lore, big fish stories, and unforgettable humor.

About Corwin

Corwin Ericson's novel Swell is published by Dark Coast Press (Seattle, WA). He lives in western Massachusetts and works as a professor, writer, and editor.

Corwin's Links

Swell the Novel (website)

Swell by Corwin Ericson (Facebook)

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of Swell from Dark Coast Press (US Mailing Addresses Only).

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What is your favorite kind of whale?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)  Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)  Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)  Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, November 7, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. For whales I would love to say the Orca, but that is technically a dolphin. I love Humpback whales from their looks to their haunting song.
    That was a great post. Looking forward to Swell.

    terilhack at gmail dot com

  2. I love the Narwhal!
    A whale with a horny tooth, epic fantasmic.
    Swell sounds like a great read!

    kasuranna at yahoo dot com

  3. The Blue Whale has always fascinated me.

    I look forward in reading Corwin's works.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  4. I love all whales, but my favorite is the Humpback whale.I really enjoyed reading your interview.
    I look so forward to reading Swell.
    +1 GFC Follower

  5. OK, so I so live too close to a Marine World.....yep, I really like the Orca (Killer Whale). But I also like the hunchback, and OK others too.
    +1 GFC, email, and Facebook follower
    linda at gordonvalley dot com

  6. Narwhal!!!!! Hands down :) edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom
    GFC Krystal Larson

  7. My favorite whale is the Orca. I love watching them from a ship as they follow along.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  8. The answer to the question is easy: the humpback whale. I have always been intrigued by this mammouth of the sea.It's just so amazing when you see one breach - that it can get itself out of the water like that is nature at its best.
    I have yet to be in the right place at the right time to go whale watching, but one day I'll get to see one in person. Swell looks really interesting and different - I love different!
    Congrats on the release..
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC as MJB

    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com