Thursday, February 14, 2013

Joshua Mohr Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview

JOSHUA MOHR is the author of three novels, most recently “Damascus,” which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.” He’s also written “Some Things that Meant the World to Me,” one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as “Termite Parade,” an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List. He lives in San Francisco and teaches in the MFA program at USF. His new novel, “Fight Song,” will be published February ’13.

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What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

This quote from Pablo Picasso has always stuck with me: “The chief enemy of creativity is good taste.” That’s such sound advice I even tattooed it on my arm!

Is there such a thing as a formula for storytelling?

No way. Absolutely 100% not. Did I mention that no, there’s no formula? And frankly why would we want a formula? The artist should be interested in telling her story the way it wants to be told. We have to listen to our narratives, not steer them.

In your newest book, Fight Song: A Novel; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?

It’s a black comedy, a farce of the modern family, technology. It’s also a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz” set in an American suburb. The main character is a guy named Bob Coffen. He’s been going through the motions and the book follows him for a few key days—when he decides that he has to fight for the life he wants to live.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Bob?

I didn’t expect there to be any magical realism in the book, but about halfway through, poof!, suddenly a man turns into a mouse. It’s funny how stories take on lives of their own. I never planned for that to happen.

If you could introduce Bob to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I bet ol’ Bob Coffen would have been fast friends with Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim. Man, I would love to eavesdrop on that happy hour. I’m not sure why they’d dig each other. Just my literary gut.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

I’m about halfway through my next novel. It’s about a woman who gets a sentence repeating in her head in a language that she does not speak. The mysterious line is about a murder. She then tries to save the person. Or at least that’s what I think it’s about now. It might be wildly different in six months. Usually, it takes me about 3 years to write a book.

What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

Can I gift you some money, Mr. Mohr? Shall we make it an even $500,000?

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?

I have a recurrent dream that my hands are made out of carrots and a whole town is chasing me, trying to eat my carrot-fingers.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

What made you stop doing drugs?

If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?

It’s clean. People always assume that this tattooed aging hipster is messy, but actually, I’m sort of a neat freak.

When was the last time you cried?

Not that long ago. A week. Maybe less. Hell, I might start crying before I’m done answering these questions!

Who was the last person you hugged?

I hugged my wife this morning.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

My wife is the bee’s knees. Whenever I’m throwing one of my diva fits, she talks me off the ledge.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

7:43 a.m. It’s now 7:49.

Where can readers stalk you?

I make myself easily stalk-able. Facebook, goodreads. Email is I’m on Twitter at Joshua_mohr. And if that doesn’t work, just come over to my apartment the next time you’re in San Francisco. I make a mean burger.

When his bicycle is intentionally run off the road by a neighbor's SUV, something snaps in Bob Coffen. Modern suburban life has been getting him down and this is the last straw. To avoid following in his own father’s missteps, Bob is suddenly desperate to reconnect with his wife and his distant, distracted children. And he's looking for any guidance he can get.

Bob Coffen soon learns that the wisest words come from the most unexpected places, from characters that are always more than what they appear to be: a magician/marriage counselor, a fast-food drive-thru attendant/phone-sex operator, and a janitor/guitarist of a French KISS cover band. Can these disparate voices inspire Bob to fight for his family? To fight for his place in the world?

A call-to-arms for those who have ever felt beaten down by life, Fight Song is a quest for happiness in a world in which we are increasingly losing control. It is the exciting new novel by one of the most surprising and original writers of his generation.

You can purchase Fight Song at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Joshua for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a copy of Fight Song by Joshua Mohr.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. You would laugh, but it was a cemetery

  2. I used to go to my parents closet. I always felt comfortable in there.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. I used to hang out in front of this big tree that was in my front yard. It had these gargantuan sized roots that I would stand on and use as a bench on some days.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    mestith at gmail dot com

  4. Just my room when my big brother wasn't here.

  5. When I was younger, I'd like to go to my school's chapel to pray and think about things.

  6. a Gnatum gnemon (melinjo in Indonesia) tree in small forest outside my house

  7. not really,...i just going to my room.

  8. With my neighbor. We went to play near our house.

  9. I believe I would just go to my room and shut the door. Or go for a walk around my neighbor hood. Thank you so much to the author for donating your book and to Jean for hosting this giveaway!!

  10. I used to stay in my wardrobe.

  11. hmm.. in my bed.>:)

    rafflecopter: Avie S.

  12. I went to the barn and talked to my horse. He was an excellent listener!

  13. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! Yes, in the closet, in the playground and also my room. :)

  14. I'd go downstairs do the unfinished room in the basement and make window stickers when the rest of my family was fighting. Thanks for the giveaway Joshua and Jean!

  15. I always loved to go out to the yard and play on the jungle gym

  16. My room. :) It was the one place I could decorate how ever I wanted!

  17. I always go to our school chapel every school day morning when I was a child. Just a few minutes each day to look at the altar. I missed that now.