Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Book Spotlight & Interview: Watering Heaven by Peter Tieryas Liu

Watering Heaven
By: Peter Tieryas Liu
Pub. Date: October 12, 2012
Publisher: Signal 8 Press
Pages: 206

Watering Heaven from Signal 8 Press is a travelogue of and requiem for the American dream in all its bizarre manifestations and a surreal, fantastic journey through the streets, alleys, and airports of China. Whether it’s a monk who uses acupuncture needles to help him fly or a city filled with rats about to be exterminated so that the mayor can win his reelection bid, be prepared to laugh, swoon, and shudder at the answers Liu offers in this provocative debut collection.

Today, I have Peter Tieryas Liu on the blog where I got to ask him some questions!

1. If you had to describe your book to a friend, what would you say?

This is my debut collection of twenty stories called Watering Heaven out from Signal 8 Press. The stories were written during my travels throughout the world, particularly in China and Thailand. Some of the stories have elements of magical realism, say as in a woman who gives birth to an egg and a man who is able to fly. Others are grounded in reality but take on strange slants on humanity; a man who takes photographs of urban legends and a filmmaker wants to defend the rights of rats who are about to exterminated. Many of the stories have been published in some of my favorite literary magazines and I’m glad for the chance to get to share all of them at once in the form of this book. The title comes from the William Blake poem, the Tyger, describing the celestial war when the angels were forced out of Heaven. It reflects the theme of transition and change that marks many of the stories and protagonists.

2. What made you decide to become a writer?

Would it sound strange if I told you that a strange voice in the back of my neck originating with a third eye inspired me to write a piece about wingless birds fighting against milk-thirsty chimpanzees when I was seven? Later, I was implanted with a brain cell formulated from nanolasers imprinted with a command that I write about the quirky contrasts of urban life with the ambitions that propel a society forward. Machinations may abound, but my focus has been microscopically planktonite. Literally, biochemical plankton infesting fish causing everyone who eats anything that eats aquatic organisms with gills to blog, scribble, and write every concept and idea on a pen, iPad, keyboard, and smart phone. I try to capture some of the nuances. Say watching a centipede or a pill millipede struggling briskly with his legs to cross the sidewalk. It’s an odd analogy for the balancing act present in modern lives. (To answer your question, I just love telling stories)

3. Favorite TV show? Movie? Book?

Too many to list here. Can I just share what I’ve enjoyed in the past month? I loved watching the season premiere of Walking Dead and have also enjoyed Game of Thrones. Movie-wise, my wife and I have been watching some old Kubrick films and have really enjoyed those. The last movie I saw at the theater was Dark Knight Rises and I loved the ambitious nature of the film. I did also see Hotel Transylvania, which I loved, but I’m biased as I worked on the film. As for books, there’s a wide variety: The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, Grim Series Poem by Kristine Ong Muslim, VII by Kyle Muntz, re-reading parts of the works of Marvin K. Mooney by Christopher Higgs. I also re-read Candide by Voltaire and was shocked at how violent and nihilistic it got, even if it was meant as satire. There’s too many good books and not enough time. I really respect a readers time and try to make sure every story I write satisfies them in one form or another.

4. Creamy or crunchy peanut butter? 

Crunchy, as long as I have some jam and wheat bread, and as long as there’s no threat of salmonella, and as long as the nuts have the appropriate levels of protein, B3, E, and magnesium, and as long as there’s no chance of me getting an allergic reaction which might cause anaphylactic shock, and certainly the presence of hydrogenated vegetable oils would be a big deterrent, but as long as it’s neither too salty nor too sweet, and as long as I’m craving peanut butter, I’d say crunchy is the way to go.

Thanks Peter!

My pleasure! Thanks for having me.

Author Bio:

Peter Tieryas Liu has almost 200 publications in magazines and journals including Adirondack Review, anderbo, Bitter Oleander, Bookslut, Camera Obscura Journal, decomP, Evergreen Review, Gargoyle, Indiana Review, Kartika Review, Prism Review, Toad Suck Review, Word Riot, and ZYZZYVA, and was the recipient of the 2012 Fiction Award from Mojo, the magazine run by Wichita State University. He has also worked as a technical writer for LucasArts, the gaming division of LucasFilm. 

For more information on Peter and his book, Watering Heaven, visit his website

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