After that fateful day when I remembered that there’s a place I can get books for FREE, I went to the library and stumbled upon a novel filled with deadpan humor, irreverence, and yarn-y goodness: Boys Don’t Knit by T. S. Easton. You can find my review of it here. What I didn’t tell you was that I read it in a day and somewhere around the advent of Act 2, I put down the book long enough to send an email to the book’s author to ask for an interview. As you might’ve surmised, he agreed! And I’m completely over the moon about it.
– – – Q & A with T.S. Easton – – –
What drew you to write about knitting? While I’m super happy you chose it to drive the humor and tension of Boys Don’t Knit, why did you chose it over other “feminine” activities such as making jewelry, soap, candles, or quilting?
Because knitting is a cliché, there’s a supposed ‘stigma’ of effeminacy attached to knitting that just isn’t there for less well-known activities such as jewellery-making or quilting. Knitting is a well-worn trope that’s immediately identifiable as something ‘boys don’t do’. It’s supposed to be for grannies, or crazy cat ladies. Of course Ben learns this is nonsense, that boys do knit and that the knitting community is as diverse as any other.
I love that Ben kept a diary and insisted on calling it that instead of a journal. It displayed his sensitive side, and telling his story in diary format kept the chapters short and punchy. When you’re already writing a funny novel that pokes holes in gender norms, was this a conscious choice or was it just fun to do? Personally, I’m a sucker for diary books.
I love a diary book, too. The short, punchy chapters really work for me. This form allows me to sprinkle random, tangential, slightly surreal happenings throughout the book as well as to keep a number of sub-plots going, returning to them off and on. It also allows me to end each little segment on a cliff hanger or a joke which keeps the narrative engaging. Also, I’m a bit lazy and I like that the diary format doesn’t require too much detail and description.
Are you a knitter?
I’m sorry to say I am not. My wife showed me how to knit while I was writing the book so I’d be able to give a reasonably convincing description of the process. But I was terrible at it! A few knitters have (mostly kindly) pointed out where I got a few things wrong in the book, and of course I realise it’s not really possible for Ben to be quite so fast, but it’s not supposed to be a How-To book. I hope I gave a good enough account of the delights and joys of the craft.
Also, this isn’t a question, but you have our full permission to put us in your next Ben Fletcher novel.
Watch this space…
If you were a meme, what meme would you be. Personally, I’m runaway llamas and Megan-Anne is baby goats wearing pajamas.
I’m not very good at keeping up with memes, but I have lately been spending a lot of time watching YouTube clips of cats making contented noises while eating. (Or does my meme have to rhyme with llamas and pyjamas? In which case I like apple farmers who talk like Barack Obama dressed as snake charmers.)
What’s your next project, both in the knitting and writing sense?
I’m currently working on a couple of books for middle grade readers. The first is called Our House and will be published by Piccadilly Press (an imprint of the UK publisher of Boys Don’t Knit) in April 2016. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it’ll find a home in the US. My next YA book to be published in the US won’t be out until the end of 2017 I’m afraid. More details to follow…
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Thank you for joining us, Mr. Easton! And don’t worry, I think you did an awesome job of showing how awesome knitting can be. :D
You can follow T.S. Easton on Twitter @tomeaston or check out his website here. Boys Don’t Knit hit U.S. shelves a few months ago, but has been available in the UK for a while. They already have access to the second book, An English Boy in New York, and I’m insanely jealous.
“I’m starting to think that maybe knitting has healing powers greater than I ever imagined.” ~ Ben Fletcher