Interviewer: What is Tree Black about?
Connor: In the simplest sense, it’s about a friendship that’s put to the test.
Interviewer: I mean who are the characters?
Connor: Oh, I see. You wanna know what happens? There’s a difference.
Interviewer: Okay, so what happens?
Connor: A transgender woman loses her job in the South because of who she is and her boyfriend, this Cherokee guy, gets blackballed from the same institution. They work at welding school. Anyway, they decide to leave the South. They’re ready for new horizons and all. They go up to Appalachia where her boyfriend has the deed to his parents’ cabin. Of course, her boyfriend hasn’t told her everything about who he is and what’s hibernating in the forest.
Interviewer: What’s up there in the forest?
Connor: Evil. Just pure evil.
Interviewer: Was it a difficult story to write?
Connor: No, miraculously this book just kind of fell out of my ass in like four months.
Interviewer: Who are your influences?
Connor: Hmmm. I have to say a lot of Southern writers. I’m a big fan of Joe Lansdale, Larry Brown, Harry Crews… I also think the late John O’Brien is the bomb.
Interviewer: Flannery O’Connor?
Connor: I liked the movie version of Wise Blood, but I can’t stand O’Connor’s prose. I don’t know why.
Interviewer: Will you write a sequel?
Connor: Oh, fuck no.
Interviewer: You had that response on the tip of your tongue.
Connor: I don’t feel like there’s any room for a sequel. I’m eager to write something else.
Interviewer: What advice would you give to other writers?
Connor: The best advice I ever heard came from a Youtube video I saw about Stephen King. He said read. You’ve got to read. You’ve got to formulate a style through seeing how others do it. You’ve got to decide which books you like to read, how you want to read them. What do you want your words to do? Writing is a skill you put time into and figure out how to tell the story you want to tell. You know, it’s not something you can do on the weekends and expect to get good at it. I am extremely, emotionally invested in my writing. It’s who I am. It’s my identity. It has to be the most important part of your life if you want to do it professionally. And don’t most of what you hear. People have started writing very late in life and very able to become notable writers: Larry Brown, Bill Buroughs etc. You gotta read and you gotta sit down at the keyboard and just fucking do it.
Interviewer: Thanks for chatting.
Connor: My pleasure.