Michael Malone talks about his new novel, The Four Corners of the Sky | Lit Local | Indy Week
Pin It

Michael Malone talks about his new novel, The Four Corners of the Sky 

click to enlarge malone-web.jpg

Michael Malone first had the idea for his latest novel, The Four Corners of the Sky, in 1999, while on a college road trip with his daughter Maggie. At a stop at Annapolis, Maggie posed next to a jet plane and made a comment about wanting to fly one someday. "The image of what that would be for a young woman, what kind of person would succeed at that, stayed in my mind and was the start of the novel," says Malone, who'll launch his book at Raleigh's Quail Ridge Books and Music on Thursday, May 7.

It took the Hillsborough-based writer another decade to bring that story to print—though, in the meantime, he wrote three novels, a short story collection and nearly two years of television shows. "By the time I'd get further in the novel, the experimental plane I'd written about had become obsolete," Malone says. "I had to keep updating the technology." He solved that problem by having the story end in 2001.

Malone's tale of Annie Peregrine, a young woman on a road trip to visit her absentee, criminal father, most closely mirrors his 1986 road tale Handling Sin. Malone agrees that it's a "mirror" to Handling Sin, though it's from a younger, different perspective. "As I get older, the interest shifts to younger people in a way that the relationship becomes a paternal one to the characters," Malone says.

"I feel so much affection for Annie that has nothing to do with my daughter Maggie's life. That woman is someone whose personality comes out of her, and I think that has something to do with the age of the writer. When I wrote Uncivil Seasons, I was very young and wisecracking with these two detectives, in this different writing position."

"The 'journey novel' takes you through [a whole new world] and you meet lots of different people, like Huck Finn going down the river. With the mystery genre, once you get into the court house or the police station, you meet a whole new world of people."

Malone's work often deals with large casts of characters from various social, racial and religious backgrounds, from the communities that populate his novels to his Emmy-winning work as former head writer on the soap opera One Life to Live. He's enthusiastic to see how this storytelling style has become more prominent in popular culture, particularly with such television series as The Wire.

"To see that format being finally grasped and picked up by episodic nighttime television—pure, character-driven shows—is amazing," Malone says. "In daytime, the process is so ongoing that you don't always have time to polish what you're putting out, and I have often thought, 'Wouldn't it be interesting to do this the way they're now doing it?'"

Malone, who recently donated his papers to Duke University, feels that "North Carolina now has one of the richest collections of truly first-rate writers living together in one state," and he always launches his books at Quail Ridge. "Nancy Olsen is such a friend to all fiction writers, but particularly writers of Southern fiction," says Malone, "so it's an honor to begin my journey with this novel at Quail Ridge. Even if I have to go on I-40 to do it—Nancy could get me [to drive] further than Raleigh."

For more information, visit www.quailridgebooks.com.

  • The Hillsborough-based writer launches his new novel at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh Thursday.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Lit Local



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

However, slavery in the Indian nations differed in significant ways from American slavery. By most accounts, black families owned by …

by jay222212 on Zelda Lockhart explores the shared histories of Native and African Americans (Lit Local)

Right Back read this today and not tomorrow. Florida minister died Dec. 16th. Sorry. …

by Right Back on Chapel Hill transplant Rosecrans Baldwin publishes his debut novel (Lit Local)

I'm glad all the male writers in Chapel Hill are talking to each other.

by Female writer on Chapel Hill transplant Rosecrans Baldwin publishes his debut novel (Lit Local)

Great profile! I love TMN, glad to have Mr Baldwin in the area.

by lld on Chapel Hill transplant Rosecrans Baldwin publishes his debut novel (Lit Local)

Terrific excerpt. Life back then wasn't easy for many of our ancestors, white immigrants or black slaves..Just another example of …

by Old Dave on Zelda Lockhart explores the shared histories of Native and African Americans (Lit Local)

Comments

However, slavery in the Indian nations differed in significant ways from American slavery. By most accounts, black families owned by …

by jay222212 on Zelda Lockhart explores the shared histories of Native and African Americans (Lit Local)

Right Back read this today and not tomorrow. Florida minister died Dec. 16th. Sorry. …

by Right Back on Chapel Hill transplant Rosecrans Baldwin publishes his debut novel (Lit Local)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation