Each semester, 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 Samsun Knight, UI Press author of 'The Diver.' Samsun Knight is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is also an economist and assistant professor in the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Visit his website here.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about your new book The Diver?
The Diver is about a woman who accidentally murders her husband, and then turns to the occult to try and bring him back. Told mostly through the perspective of a private eye hired to investigate her, the novel explores the hollowness of modern ways of dealing with death, and the terror of existing in a body that doesn't always feel like it entirely belongs to you.
2. What was the inspiration for this work?
In large part, the book was inspired by its first chapter. I wrote the beginning scene of the accidental murder separately, after doing a lot of research into scuba diving, and then found myself wanting to dig deeper into the characters and themes of love, mind/body friction, and loneliness. But given that the main character had already murdered her husband right at the start, I had a hard time figuring out where the plot could go from there; and I decided that she had to try and undo her mistake.
3. Do you have any plans for readings or events for this book, either in person or virtual?
Not at present.
4. What are you reading right now? Any books from other university or independent presses?
Right now I'm reading Iris Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea, and loving the depth of the voice and the strange sort of unrealism that she achieves, where essentially every lover from the character's life shows up in the same small town in the same week, including those the protagonist hasn't seen in decades. It's an interesting feat to enclose so much coincidence as part of the world-building of the novel, and I'm excited to see how she leverages this strangeness in further pages. I'm also looking forward to reading Pay As You Go by my friend Eskor David Johnson, another Iowa grad, forthcoming from an independent press this October.
5. What is your writing routine? Do you have a daily routine?
I like to write standing up and listening to music on headphones, with the world faded to a blur outside of the text. I try to write every day, but sometimes my day job gets in the way, so usually I just end up writing whenever I can.
Thank you Samsun!