Queer Lit Q&A: Michael Graves

Delighted to have Michael Graves join me on t’blog today, as I was an enormous fan of his first collection of short stories, Dirty One, which I read secretively in snatched moments at work when I should have been otherwise engaged, and devoured in under a day. Highly recommended! (And for the record, I also second his recommendation in question 2…)

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1. Tell me about a piece of yours that you’re particularly proud of…
 
I’m fiercely proud of my novel, Parade. The religious and spiritual content reflect my own beliefs and the manner in which I try to govern myself on a daily basis. The message is: “Just try to be good and try to be better. This is all conveyed through the protagonists, Reggie and Elmer. Also, there’s lots of cocktails, dancing, high heels and senior citizen spaghetti suppers. It’s sort of a book within a book. After accidentally burning down a church and hitting the lottery, Reggie and Elmer escape to Jupiter, Florida. Here, Reggie begins to craft his own version of the bible, The Cookbook. I’ve spent so much time with these characters and this story. I believe that it’s fun. I believe it has so much heart. I really love the shit out of it.
2. Recommend me a novel/short story/poem/collection by someone else that you think everyone should be reading… 
You should certainly check out Tom Cardamone’s collection, Night Sweats. Not only is he my pal, but he’s such a talented writer. His fiction is quirky, naughty, moody, weird. All excellent qualities. He’s a terribly funny person. Being with him, through his words or in real life on a Saturday night, is an adventure. You should also check out Bud Smith. He writes a majority of his work on his phone while working construction in Jersey. His work wreaks of maleness. I listened to an interview with him and he was asked about his goals as a writer. He replied, “I just want to make cool shit.” He’s kind of a literary super hero.
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FACESHOTMichael Graves
is the author of Dirty One, a collection of short stories. This book was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist and an American Library Association Honoree. His fiction and poetry has been featured in numerous literary publications, including Post Road, Pank, Velvet Mafia and Chelsea Station Magazine. Michael’s short work has also been featured in several anthologies, such as Cool Thing, The Lost Library: Gay Fiction Rediscovered and Eclectica Magazine’s Best Fiction, Volume One. His non-fiction reviews and interviews can be found in Lambda Book Report and Edge Boston. This fall, Michael released his debut novel, Parade. Bill Biss of Edge Boston says, “Michael Graves has a keen eye of the farce and facts of life. Parade is a page-turner of surprise that holds the attention and a skillfully crafted novel to be savored for its uniqueness.” Writer, Michael Carroll says, “Parade is one jigger Capote’s Answered Prayers, a jigger of Tennessee Williams’s story ‘Two on a Party,’ and a generous pour of Michael Graves’s tenderly transgressive yet never abrasive tonic of satire and sweetness, all of it going down bracingly, not bitter. It is a story of callow youth contrasted with the tough and ultimately ruefully true choices that adulthood tries to force us into. In the author’s hands the narrative of rite of passage and religious hypocrisy goes down unsettlingly, which is the mark of the mixer’s skillful hand.”

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