Katherine Hill is the author of the novel The Violet Hour (Scribner 2013). Her stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including AGNI, The Believer, Bookforum, Colorado Review, The Common, n+1, Paris Review Daily, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Wall Street Journal Speakeasy. A former speechwriter at the University of Pennsylvania, she has taught writing at Philadelphia University, Mighty Writers in South Philadelphia, and the PEN Prison Writing Program in New England. Now an assistant editor at Barrelhouse, she lives with her husband in Princeton, New Jersey. She tweets @KHill0.
We caught up with award-winning author Katherine Hill to discuss her debut novel, The Violet Hour, which has been getting raves everywhere from People Magazine to O, The Oprah Magazine to all over the blogosphere. The book is just out here in the US and will be published in the UK this winter. The Violet Hour is a multi-generational, intimate-yet-epic family saga that explores how we support and challenge, love and hurt, embrace and push away those around us, in romantic relationships and in our family. Check out our discussion with Katherine about Millennials, generational identity, gender in fiction writing, and how art can maybe save the world:
Dating & Hookup: The Violet Hour is an intimate family saga portraying three generations of the Fabricant family. That said, throughout the book we definitely come to know these people as distinct individuals. How do you see the influence and importance (or lack thereof) of generational identities? Do you think our generation shapes who we are…or vice versa…?
KH: All of us are born to specific times and places, and whatever our individual proclivities, the times and places we inhabit shape us considerably. We change with our cultures from decade to decade, year to year, and even often from minute to minute. I think we’re all aware of this to some extent, remembering our wild days when we ran with wild crowds, or finding we hate the suburbs because we’re always in our cars. And yet, day-to-day, we are mostly not aware of these larger, self-molding forces—especially in the contemporary United States. There is a powerful myth in this country that we shape our own destinies, a myth that explains a great deal about American attitudes towards work, love, family, and government. One of the most fascinating things about writing a multi-generational novel in this era was that I got to explore our culture’s changing values through characters who (like most of us) don’t always recognize the power their own assumptions have over their lives.
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