The Next Big Thing: Julia Bloch

Les Figues author Divya Victor tags Julia to talk about her first book, as part of The Next Big Thing.

What is the working title of the book?

Letters to Kelly Clarkson, published by Sidebrow Books.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

In the early 2000s, I was sitting in Dodie Bellamy's writing workshop in San Francisco. I was reading her book The Letters of Mina Harker and writing prose poems about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and listening to Dodie, Kevin Killian, and members of the group talk about this new reality series on the Fox network, American Idol. I started to write letters to Kelly as pundits across the blogosphere debated the rumor that more people had voted in the AI finals than in the previous two presidential elections. I wanted to use the poems to ask questions about celebrity, democracy, femininity, and desire, as well as the mass cultural corporatization of the female body. I was thinking a lot about spaces, intimacy, bodies, wardrobes, and television. Also, I cried at the AI finale, and my friend Zak Szymanski and I drove down to an arena in San Jose in my 1982 Toyota to catch the live AI tour.

What genre does your book fall under?

Prose/poetry/epistolarity. Gender.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, there's already From Justin to Kelly, obviously, starring Kelly herself. But I think the movie rendition of this book would be something closer to a TV serial in the style of Buffy or maybe the more angsty Firefly. I've always wanted to cast a young Ione Skye in something.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Stars are real.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

On and off, about 6 years.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

They include: television, SOMA, vampires, the Inner Sunset, the election, Switzerland, Dodie Bellamy's The Letters of Mina Harker, Slavoj Žižek, William Wordsworth, the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, weddings, airplanes, breakups, and Luce Irigaray's Speculum of the Other Woman.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The cover image of my book is taken from Laura Splan's "Wallpaper," 2008, which is printed with the artist's blood.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Sidebrow Books published the book.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:

Sarah Dowling
Patrick Pritchett
Michelle Taransky