In preparation for MinnPost’s first Book Club Blast, BCC blogger Audra Otto has invited participating authors to answer a few questions. We’ll publish responses from Speed Chatters as well as Meet & Minglers in the next few weeks. FYI, registration is coming in fast and space is limited. If you want to attend, register here to reserve your spot. Jim Heynen will be one of six Speed Chatters at the Blast.
MinnPost: Tell us about your upcoming book releases and recent published work.
Jim Heynen: My most recent publication is the text for “Sunday Afternoon on the Porch,” a collection of photographs of small-town Iowa taken by Everett Kuntz when he was a young man between 1939 and 1942. The photographs weren’t printed until shortly before his death a few years ago.
My forthcoming books, both from Milkweed Editions, are “The Fall of ’99,” a novel, and “Ordinary Sins,” a collection of short-shorts.
I am currently working on two children’s books with illustrator Tom Pohrt.
MP: Which writers or works have been the strongest influences on your own writing?
JH: I seem to be influenced by everyone I read. Right now it’s Alice Munro.
Most of last year I was obsessed with better understanding our country’s personality and read everything I could on the Founding Fathers. I just finished Gordon S. Wood’s long and wonderful book, “Empire of Liberty,” covering the years 1789-1815.
My early influences were Geoffrey Chaucer, Jonathan Swift, Flannery O’Connor, and Anton Chekhov.
MP: What do you love most about living in Minnesota?
JH: I love Minnesota reticence and other vibrant leftovers from Scandinavian and rural sensibilities. I love our absence of pretense and our false indicators of unsophistication.
I love the fact that it’s easy to underestimate us.
I love the fact that Hubert Humphrey, Fritz Mondale, the Erdrich sisters, the Coen brothers, Carol and Robert Bly, Bill Holm, Al Franken, Prince and Jesse Ventura could all keep dry under our umbrella.
I love the fact that people from sissy climates who suffer from geographic dementia pity us for living here.