The Los Angeles Times compared Marc Fitten‘s “penchant for sweeping allegory” to Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe before mentioning Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, and M. Glenn Taylor. Fitten’s debut novel Valeria’s Last Stand, set in an imaginary Hungarian village, is, the Times continued, “at first glance a tale of love and lust but from a distance is clearly a symbolic rendering of the benefits and drawbacks of switching from a socialist to a market economy.”

Marc is a PhD student at Georgia State University and received the Paul Bowles Fellowship for Fiction. He is currently the editor of The Chattahoochee Review, Atlanta‚Äôs oldest journal. He blogs at Pass the Hooch and is on an extended book tour dedicated to chronicling his visits to 100 independent book stores at Marc Fitten’s Indie 100.

You can read “The Paprika Ewer,” an excerpt from Valeria’s Last Stand, on Fictionaut.

If you weren’t a writer, how would you spend your time?

If I weren’t a writer, I’d spend my time trying to become one. If writing weren’t an option at all, I’d be trying to become an artist or creative person in a different medium entirely. I’ve always been interested in sculpture and painting. I’d go to art school and study that. The point is that I only want to live using my imagination, creativity, and enthusiasm. Otherwise, it wouldn’t really matter.

Which book do you wish you’d written?

I’ve never thought of it that way. What’s done is done. I’m more interested in writing the best novels I can write as opposed to writing masterpieces. However, these are my mountain tops: The Brothers Karamazov, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Baron in the Trees, and One Hundred Years of Solitude. These books are how I measure literature and myself. These books are the pinnacle of the form, as I see it. These books are what I want to aspire to.

What are the websites you couldn’t live without?

WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter! I use them to talk about the bookstores and update my blog at http://indie100mfitten.wordpress.com/

What are you working on now?

I’m selling my book —Valeria’s Last Stand — right now, so these days I’m not writing much of anything except my indie 100 blog. I’m visiting 100 indie bookstores around america –mostly on my own dime!!– to see for myself what the state of literature is in this country. It’s been a very promising adventure, and I’ve become very optimistic. There are a lot of readers out there.

Do you listen to music while you write? What?

I don’t listen to music while I write. I need absolute silence to write. Silence and a cell are best. I was surprised when a friend told me she listened to music when she wrote. I’m distracted too easily. I do listen to music to get into a creative mood. But other things get me into the mood as well. Just sitting down and typing gets me into the mood. I go to museums a lot. An exceptionally good meal or conversation also works. Perfume works. The point is to become reflective. I’ve been listening to Bach’s 4th Cello Suite a lot recently. And i’m always whistling something from the Velvet Underground. I feel like that’s an easy answer, but it’s true.


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