VAH: Sam, who is your favorite author?
SS: It sounds cheap and like thousands of other white males out there, but I’d have to say Hemingway. Having studied his prose as a grad student and having read countless stories and books by him, something about the prose always speaks to me. The parataxis is intriguing and his background as a cub reporter jives with my own, though I don’t have anywhere near the amount of experience that he did. There are other things, but I feel I’d fall into super nerd fan boy speak and I’d rather avoid that.
VAH: Imagine you’re stranded in a snowstorm, or stuck on a deserted island. What books would you hope to have with you or hope to find?
SS: First, I’d rather be stuck on a deserted island—there’s something very literary and less freezey-to-deathy about that. The immediate thought is to bring something practical like How to Survive on a Deserted Island or 79 Military Practices to Keep You Alive. Beyond that, though (because who wants to be practical?), I’d bring The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor, Brillat-Savarin’s The Physiology of Taste, and if allowed, a set of encyclopedias. I’d also take the biggest tome of blank paper I could. I think all of those books have their various methods and, at least with the encyclopedias (and Physiology to an extent) there would be some practical knowledge to pull from them. I’d need a balance of practical and impractical to survive, I think.
VAH: What is the most memorable book, story or poem you’ve read?
SS: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Being named Sam, it comes up a lot in one’s life. When you combine that with the fact that I enjoy cooking, it is near inescapable. It’s memorable because of its omnipresence in my mind. (It doesn’t/does help that I have the character tattooed on the inside of my arm as well.)
VAH: What author or books keep you up at night because you can’t put them down?
SS: Like many others, I read the last Harry Potter book in a little under 24 hours. I also read the memoir Crazy For the Storm by Norman Ollestad in the same amount of time. There aren’t specific books or authors that will always keep me up. I once read the better portion of a book on Roman history in an attempt to fall asleep. It didn’t work, but I learned a lot about Nero that night.
VAH: I’ve actually not read Harry Potter, but I’ve done similar with Outlander books.
Which reader are you – always finish what you started or put it down and move on if you don’t like it?
SS: I finish books even when I don’t like them. Even if I hate it, I force myself to go on. The only explanation I have is that I’m a stubborn individual and don’t like losing, even if its to the voices in my head telling me I couldn’t follow through on something. It’s something I’m working on.
Sam Slaughter was born and raised in New Jersey and currently lives in Central Florida. He was educated at Elon University and Stetson University. He has fiction and nonfiction published or upcoming in a variety of places, including McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Midwestern Gothic, The Circus Book, The Review Review, and Heavy Feather Review. He is the Book Review Editor for The Atticus Review and a Contributing Editor at Entropy. He was recently awarded the 2014 There Will Be Words Prize and his first chapbook, When You Cross That Line, will be published in 2015.
Sam Slaughter Sampler:
1) An excerpt from DOGS, published at Revolution John
2) Part 1 of the story “Fame in the Graveyard,” published at The Circus Book
More Sam Slaughter on the 13th of the month.