Saturday, October 25, 2014

Book club questions for Sin Walks Into The Desert

A local book club offered to make Sin Walks Into The Desert their book-of-the-month if I'd set them up with a list of discussion questions. I'm posting them here for anyone else who might want 'em. There are no spoilers per se, but some of the questions point prettily heavily to where the action in the book is headed and how Sin's character develops. You've been warned.

I was a horrifically difficult Lit student. I picked fights with every teacher I ever had. The running theme was this:
"Authors don't consciously use metaphor, parallelism, setting or anything else. They just write. Talentless hacks made all that shit up because it's easy to teach."
I still believe that, which made the process of putting these questions together eye-opening. There were so many things I did subconsciously that were revealed only as I tried to reverse engineer a study guide.

For instance, one question is, "Most of the action in the book is set on the high plains of Wyoming and the empty deserts of Arizona. Why? What do those places share in common?" The answer is the lack of boundaries. A horizon so distant, it's meaningless. The sensation that there is no container for our lives. I didn't sit down before I started writing and think, "What setting would be a good metaphor for Sin's emotions?" The desert found me.

And when I ask whether the reader thinks Sin's obsession with birds of prey comes from a longing to escape or a need to control, I'm really asking. Either interpretation is valid. I would be fascinated by any reader's thoughts.

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