Contributor Spotlight: Scott Carpenter


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carpenterScott Carpenter’s story “Inheritance” appears in Midwestern Gothic Issue 4, out now.

How long have you been writing?
Depends on how you define writing! Aside from some creative pieces back in my college days (one of my jobs consisted of composing entirely fabricated horoscopes for a newspaper), most of my writing has been in the form of essays and book-length studies. I returned to fiction four
or five years ago—although it’s not as different from my academic work as one might think.

What’s your connection to the Midwest?
I was born in the Midwest, though I moved away quite early. However, I’ve now lived and worked in Minnesota for about twenty years, which makes me a junior member of the club.

How has the Midwest influenced your writing?
I have family roots in the Midwest, so my upbringing was tinged with Midwesternness no matter where we lived. I think the Midwest seeps into my writing in multiple ways, ranging from locations to characters to patterns of speech.

Why do you believe there has never really been a regionalist push for Midwestern writing in the past like there has with the South or even the West Coast?
Somehow (through the media, especially) the Midwest has come to be seen as “typical” America, whereas strong regional literatures spring from areas with strong identities as marginal or atypical cultures. Finding the atypical in the typical, the strange within the familiar – that’s the task of much Midwestern writing.

How do you feel about social media to promote your writing, and do you use it?
I prefer it when other people use social media to promote my writing! Seriously, though, I’m starting to do more. However, every hour dedicated to social media is an hour I could have spent writing, so I plan to keep that investment light. I have a Twitter feed, and the Facebook page is, well, “in progress.”

Favorite book?
There’s a lot of competition for that slot, but let me mention one I’ve just re-read: The Book of Illusions, by Paul Auster.

Favorite food?
Yes.

If you could have coffee (or tea or a beer) with any literary figure, alive or dead, who would it
be?

My agent, Victoria Skurnick.

Where can we find more information about you?
Here’s a good place to start: https://apps.carleton.edu/people/scarpent/fiction/

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