The remarkable reader and endlessly curious Fiona McVie has made it her mission to interview as many writers as she can for her blog, Authors Interviews –and she has topped 5,300 author interviews so far. She interviewed Christine Flanagan in late July, 2018, for THE LETTERS OF FLANNERY O’CONNOR AND CAROLINE GORDON. Read the full interview here.
Fiona McVie: What inspired you to write your first book?
Christine Flanagan: Long ago, I my first book was a collection of short stories. Flannery O’Connor, Bernard Malamud, Sherwood Anderson, and Anton Chekhov were the writers who most deeply affected me. My stories, alas, were never published as a collection, but that first collection was titled HEART FAILURES.
For this current book, THE LETTERS OF FLANNERY O’CONNOR AND CAROLINE GORDON, I was inspired by the first writing I ever read by Caroline Gordon. I found it in a book called LETTERS TO A FICTION WRITER edited by Frederick Busch—a book that contained letters by famous writers to other writers. Caroline Gordon’s letter to Flannery O’Connor was a nine-page single-spaced letter giving O’Connor feedback on her first book. The letter was staggering, simply amazing: generous and intelligent. I couldn’t believe that fiction writers today didn’t know about Caroline Gordon. She was a remarkable writer and teacher, and friend to many of the 20th century’s most impressive fiction writers.