Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter
Over the next week, we’ll be posting “Words from our Finalists,” so you can get to know the 2011 Sami Rohr Prize finalists a little better.
First up…Austin Ratner
Austin…meet our Readers
What are some of the most challenging things about writing fiction?
I have always written incessantly from the time I was a child.
Who is your intended audience?
Whoever will take me.
Are you working on anything new right now?
I just finished a novel about two brothers on a roadtrip from L.A. to Cleveland in the summer of 1999. I’m in the middle of another about a labyrinth.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
When did you decide to be a writer? Where were you?
If I had to pinpoint it to one moment it would be a Monday lecture on nasopharyngeal bacteria in my last year of medical school, the day after the Cleveland Indians blew the 1997 World Series.
What is the mountaintop for you — how do you define success?
Most people think of success as celebrity, but as Carrie Fisher said, celebrity is just obscurity biding its time. I’ll be mostly satisfied if I have a modest readership in my lifetime, the respect of a few critics, and if people are still reading my books 4000 years from now and comparing me to Shakespeare.
How do you write — what is your private modus operandi? What talismans, rituals, props do you use to assist you?
I used to like to write in an L.L. Bean chamois shirt and I wore out the elbows and had my dry cleaner sew patches over the holes with scrap fabric from old laundry bags. One patch was bright purple and one was orange. One day I decided I needed to toughen myself up and I threw it out.
What do you want readers to get out of your book?
A persuasive dream.
You can read more about Austin Ratner by visiting his website: http://www.austinratner.com/Site2/Home.html