The Writing University hosts the 5Q Interview series with authors from the University of Iowa Press. We sit down with UI Press authors to ask about their work, their process, their reading lists and events. Today we are speaking with Shiloh Carroll, author of The Medieval Worlds of Neil Gaiman: From Beowulf to Sleeping Beauty.
Shiloh Carroll teaches writing at Tennessee State University and writes fantasy fiction and literary criticism. She lives in Nashville with her husband, two cats, and a surfeit of books. She can be found at shilohcarroll.wordpress.com
- Can you tell us a little bit about your new book The Medieval Worlds of Neil Gaiman?
I am a huge fantasy nerd and also a huge nerd about the Middle Ages, which is what led me to study medievalism in the first place. In The Medieval Worlds of Neil Gaiman, I've explored some of the ways that medieval literature, art, and culture inspired or influenced various works by Neil Gaiman. I tried to approach it both as an introduction to the concept of medievalism and as a work of literary criticism to demonstrate both how medievalism developed and influences modern works and how deep Gaiman's "compost heap" (his words) actually goes.
- What was the inspiration for this work?
About five years ago, I had finished my first book, Medievalism in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, and I was thinking about what the next book was going to be. I'd been tossing around the idea of doing something with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but there really wasn't enough medievalism in the series for a full book (I ended up doing several essays that I posted on my website). My husband and I were waiting to be seated at one of our favorite restaurants, and he said, "Hmmm...medievalism in the works of Neil Gaiman." My brain went record-scratch-freeze-frame, which I think worried him because it had been a throwaway comment on his part. When I brought the idea to my then-literary agent, said agent was super enthusiastic about it, so I got started.
- Do you have any plans for readings or events for this book, either in person or virtual?
I don't at the moment, but it's entirely possible I'll end up being a guest on a few podcasts (I have a lot of friends with podcasts).
- What are you reading right now? Any books from other university or independent presses?
I am a voracious reader. I'm always reading something. Right now it's Jeff Vandermeer's scifi/horror novel Annihilation and Amanda Montell's Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism.
- What is your writing routine? Do you have a daily routine?
A lot depends on my day job, which alternates between having a lot of down-time and us all running around with our hair on fire. On days with more down-time, I aim for 1000 words a day, though I'm happy with however many I can get down in a morning. By afternoon, my brain is usually mush so that's when I'll read or do research. Right now I'm working on a fantasy novella about some traveling actors in a vaguely Elizabethan society and thinking about what essay to do for my website next.
Thank you Shiloh!