OBJECTS OF DERISION

AN INTERVIEW WITH RENEE CHRISTOPHER

 
 
NGQ:
If you were a character in a piece you were writing, how would you introduce yourself?
RENEE CHRISTOPHER:
Probably as metaphorically as possible. I’d ideally show up in the form of the ocean, a goddess of death, or as a witch’s feline familiar who gives her the side-eye all the time.

 
NGQ:
What do you find yourself returning to time and time again? What tropes or imagery do you find turning up in your work consciously or unconsciously?
CHRISTOPHER:

I’ve always written about the body, and I’ve always written about water. I think the human connection to both water and corporeality are topics that can still be explored in compelling ways. A lot of my work looks for questions about how we coexist with the land and the natural world. I think a lot about the impact of climate change and the future of our relationship to both built and natural environments; how and when that will change.
 
Lately, I’ve gravitated toward mythological images, and ‘birth’ and ‘journey’ narratives in particular.

 
NGQ:
I understand that you’re currently working on a novel; can you talk a little about the inspiration behind it?
CHRISTOPHER:

Oh man, this is my baby. I just read a quote that says don’t expect it to be what it is in your head, and that has helped a lot. One of the most salient inspirations at the moment is the desire to validate traditional forms of knowledge, lost or erased by colonization. My protagonist must rely on intuition, folk magic, and the beliefs and stories of her ancestors if she’s going to accomplish any of her larger-than-life goals.
 
I’m inspired by those who have come before me in attempts to create an abundance of non-stereotypical images of people from marginalized groups, particularly the African diaspora. Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring, Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch, and Ytasha Womack’s Afrofuturism are great examples.

 
NGQ:
What does your writing process look like? Do you have a set schedule you like to keep to, or do you write when you can?
CHRISTOPHER:
My current process involves writing towards a word count every other day, and thinking or taking notes on the off days. It’s been pretty successful this summer. I try to start as early as possible after I wake up and eat breakfast, and I prefer to write in the daylight.
 
NGQ:
What or who do you turn to when you’re in need of inspiration, in need of refilling your creative well?
CHRISTOPHER:
I’ll usually read something outside the genre I’m writing in, mostly non-fiction. Oddly, academic work about literature gets the brain working, especially for fiction. I like to think of it as writing backwards. Sometimes, I’ll turn on Florence + The Machine or the Southern Gothic playlist on Spotify.

 
NGQ:
And finally, can you tell me who & what you’re reading of late?
CHRISTOPHER:
Most recently I’ve read Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead, which is a knockout collection. I’m in the middle of Nancy Garden’s Annie on My Mind which makes me want to melt, and Tananative Due’s short story collection, Ghost Summer: outstanding.
 

 
 
 
 

∘∘∘