“Not for the faint-hearted, but for those who champion the lonely hearts club, ‘Ina-Baby: a Love Story in Reverse’ is a gritty, grimy, no-holds-barred testament to a desperate clash of life and love. Drevlow writes with a raw hand and a poet’s tongue, delivering authentic characters and then flaying them alive for the reader. Fans of Charles Bukowski will have found a new favorite author in Benjamin Drevlow.”
Who: Benjamin Drevlow
Latest Book: Ina-Baby: A Love Story in Reverse
How long did it take to complete your latest novel?
Full disclosure, Ina-Baby is a sorta kinda misfit tweener novel in stories, which I’m not sure really counts as short stories or a novel.
Oh, and just for fun, the “plot” goes in reverse chronological order.
Which is to say: It took me fifteen years. I finished it almost a year to the day that my dog Truman died (spoiler alert: a dog named “Truman” dies in the end of the book, which is actually the beginning of the book, so spoiler-non-spoiler).
I started writing the first couple stories the year I graduated from school, which has made for a lot of fun editing and revision of a collection like this, because it’s not like your perspective on life (and/or writing) really changes much from age twenty-five to age forty, but that’s also why it made sense for me to organize the stories in reverse chronological order. This way there’s a fun “Benjamin Button” evolution/devolution thing going on where a man-baby who is forty years old evolves/devolves into a younger-man-baby.
Note: It may’ve taken me fifteen years, but that’s still better than the novel-novel I’ve been working I’ve been working on for the same fifteen years, but is still unfinished, or rather, it is mostly finished but it’s 1000-pages finished and if you haven’t figure out by now, I’m not exactly David Foster Wallace or Jonathan Franzen, so sure, maybe in another ten years I’ll be able to walk it back to like three hundred pages that someone might maybe want to read and/or publish, but nah, just kidding. I’m nothing if not optimistic for the future.
If you could choose, would you have your novel adapted as a film, television show, mini-series, graphic novel or video game? Why?
I’m going to have to go with option six: play. Not sure that anyone would want to watch a movie, TV show, read a graphic novel, or play a video game where almost all the scenes alternate between a semi-naked fat guy lying on the couch with his dog versus a semi-naked fat guy getting into shouting matches with his wife versus a semi-naked fat guy writing stories about said couch-lying and match-shouting while his dog sits in his lap and whimpers.
But I really think it’d be a hit on Broadway, or let’s be honest here, off-off-offfffffffff… Broadway.
Have you ever been embarrassed to tell someone that you’re a writer/author?
That first year out of grad school (when I started writing these stories), I flipped eggs at a greasy spoon diner six days a week for minimum wage. Because it was minimum wage you had to get up at 4:30 in the morning six days a week to open, my boss refused to hire college students who tended to flake after like a week.
Instead he often hired work-release convicts because they had motivation to come to work every morning. One of these convicts turned out to be the self-proclaimed “Meth King of Southern Minnesota,” who it turned out was actually great at cooking things besides meth. And with the Meth King turning out to be such a great hire, my boss then went on to hire at least four other cooks who’d “cooked” for the Meth King.
So yeah, I didn’t really want to broadcast my MFA in fiction to a bunch of “reformed” meth heads who often liked to talk at you while wielding large knives.
But to my boss’s credit, they were all great cooks, and none of them ever tried to kill me.