Twitter Chat with 5 Under 35 Honoree Haley Tanner
Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 2:00-3:00pm

#5under35chatNational Book Foundation @nationalbook: It’s time for the second in our series of Twitter chats with 5 Under 35 honorees! Today’s guest is @haleytanner. Welcome, Haley!

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: So glad to be chatting!

National Book Foundation @nationalbook: I’ll ask the first question to get the conversation rolling, and then I’ll open it up for others to ask their questions.

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: I'm ready... fire away.

National Book Foundation @nationalbook: My question is simple, but maybe the answer is complex: Why magic? What about magicians and their craft interests or inspires you? 

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: At first I was drawn to magic because it seemed like the perfect un-cool obsession for Vaclav... 

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: then I began to see that magic is so much like storytelling - it requires a suspension of disbelief, a willingness 

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: to be transported. We know the woman will not be sawed in half - but we always gasp and wonder!

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: And aside from all of that - magicians are so dynamic, so entertaining, & wouldn't we all love to awe a crowd with magic tricks? 

National Book Foundation @nationalbook: Absolutely! There's a line in the book about magic being the art of controlling events with supernatural powers...

National Book Foundation @nationalbook: Was that idea of control also a part of it for you?

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: Certainly. I know Vaclav and Lena, each in their own way, are desperate to have some agency in the adult world.

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: There's a fantasy that magic will give them this secret knowledge- that they will be able to "control events" 

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: Magic seems to me to be a childhood fantasy that adult magicians never grow out of, in a good way.

Stephanie @classifications: @nationalbook @haleytanner V&L felt very cinematic to me at times. Any chance there is a film adaptation in the future?

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @classifications The book is in the hands of some very brilliant and lovely movie people - wouldn't that be fun?

Courtney Miller Santo @courtney_santo: What did you think of the selected shorts excerpt? Was it hard to find a section of your novel that stood on its own as a short?

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @courtney_santo Great question! The novel actually began as a short story, one I just could not stop writing.

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @courtney_santo That short was the seed of the novel - and I thought Selected Shorts did a beautiful job with it!

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: By the way, hear Vaclav & Lena on Selected Shorts here: read by the amazing Sarah Steele.

Elizabeth @sandblowerliz: @haleytanner Do you have that supernatural control when you write? Or do the characters have it & you just write what they say?

Elizabeth @sandblowerliz: @haleytanner @nationalbook I've reread the part where V&L 1st speak on the phone & then reunite many times, always w/ goosebumps.

Elizabeth @sandblowerliz: @haleytanner @nationalbook  ...any passages in books you can mention that have that effect on you?

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @sandblowerliz Oh my goodness! Thank you. And yes - books have that effect on me all the time. I tend to love real raw tenderness.

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @sandblowerliz there are many moments in Franny & Zooey that I'll re-read over and over again (one of my favorites)

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @sandblowerliz ALSO the tryst btwn Bonanza Jellybean & Sissy Hankshaw in Even Cowgirls Get the blues is a goosebumper.

Tiffiny @tiffiny: Reading @haleytanner's #5u35chat and wanting to read "Vaclav & Lena" all over again. One of my absolute favorite books.

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @tifffiny Thank you dear! 

Jonathan Fiedler @jfieds2: @nationalbook Why doesn't Vaclav tell Lena the truth at the end--wouldn't it be better to break her of her illusions?@haleytanner

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @jfieds2 Interesting. I think Lena knows the truth, but Vaclav gives her the gift of a story to believe in.

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @jfieds2 Like the magic act, she knows it isn't real, but she can still believe it on another level.

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @jfieds2 Vaclav's tale is that she has always been loved - what a lovely fiction, even if not absolute fact.

National Book Foundation @nationalbook: I've got another question: What was your response when you heard Téa Obreht had selected you for 5 Under 35? Are you a fan?

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @nationalbook I'm a HUGE fan! Téa is a brilliant writer and a completely lovely person to boot - what an honor!

Jonathan Fiedler @jfieds2: @haleytanner The obligatory: are you working on something new currently? You have fans now. Don't keep us waiting 5 years!

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @jfieds2 I am! I'm having enormous fun working on a second book - hoping to finish within the year. It's a wild one, this one...

National Book Foundation @nationalbook: That brings us to the end of our chat. Thank you, Haley, for being with us today, and congrats again on the 5 Under 35 selection!

Haley Tanner @haleytanner: @nationalbook Thank you! This was so much fun - thanks everyone for the questions!

About Haley Tanner

Haley TannerHaley Tanner received her MFA in creative writing from The New School, where her novel Vaclav & Lena began as a short story. The publishing rights for her debut novel have been sold in thirteen countries, and film rights were optioned by the Mazur/Kaplan Company. She lives in Brooklyn.
Photo credit: Gavin Snow
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