This upcoming weekend is going to herald the arrival of this website’s first weekly “Saturday Stitch and Bitch.” This is where I answer your questions and leave you in stitches, and you people bitch about release dates and stare at word count bars that don’t seem to ever move fast enough (Wool 5 is coming, people, I swear it!)
The first question I’m going to answer (since it isn’t Saturday yet) is my own. Yeah, it’s kinda cheating, but I need to explain what in the wide world of silos I’m doing here. Why are these books called “WOOL?” What’s with all the knitting terms? Am I the first openly metro-sexual science fiction writer to have a craft-themed dystopian saga with Shakespearean references?
(A: Probably not)
Well, if you’re ever in lovely little Charleston South Carolina, you should stop by my mother’s place to see how all this nonsense got started (you can see her, if you want to see how I got started). Down King Street, past the graveyard of mom-and-pops that have been resurrected and zombie-fied as Apple stores and Saks and Gaps and Starbucks, take a turn down Wentworth Street and stroll a block. (If you come to Jestine’s Kitchen with a line outside a mile long and the best-smelling Southern eats in the Western Hemisphere, you went the wrong way. But stop and grab lunch anyway, you won’t be sorry. It’s worth the wait. Drop my name. Hilarity should ensue.)
Okay, haul your bloated butt out of Jestine’s and cross King Street again. Here you’ll find, on merry Wentworth, the quaintest little knitting shop in the Lowcountry. Appropriately titled “Knit,” this is the little yarn store my mother and sister put together. It keeps thousands of Charlestonians well-supplied with scarves and sweaters for those brutal peninsula summers.
Besides the two miniature schnauzers and the gaggle of regulars, you’ll find my mother roaming the joint, organizing balls of yarn, helping someone drop a stitch, ordering lunch for the army of loafers whose mouths are yapping while opposing hands joust with wooden, yard-draped sabers.
Now, I don’t knit. I can make a square of cloth, but that’s about it. When I wrote Wool, I aimed for two meanings: The literal cleaning cloths and the blinding, metaphorical kind. When it came time to write the sequels, however, the extension of the family business felt natural. There was an amazing vocabulary to pull from, and much of it was ripe with double and triple meanings. Hence the “casting off,” the “proper gauge,” and the “unraveling.”
My favorite term in all of knitting, of course, is the phrase: “Stitch and Bitch.” This is what you call a circle of knitters talking about (mostly) the men who wronged them and the kids who are driving them crazy. They chat about books, about movies, about who’s dating who and can you believe what she paid for that thing.
For the next few Saturdays, then, I’m going to answer some questions that I’ve been collecting from readers, writers, and publishers. Feel free to send your own (email, twitter, and FB links are to the right). And I hope you’ll stop by. Bring your needles if you do. Kick up your feet. Try to remember how to cast that first row (or get my sister to help you). I think this is gonna be fun.