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.
12 replies to “The Upcoming Stitch and Bitch.”
I first read Wool because I’m a knitter. I thought, “Oh boy. I bet this is going to be some kind of terrible!” because books that try to be both knitting centered and something else usually are. You can imagine my surprise then when I finished Wool and was hooked. This series is one of the best dystopias I have ever read (and I studied Dystopias as part of my focus for my M.A. in Literature).
Oh and at my Stitch and Bitch, we usually talk about books, sex, our jobs, dirty jokes, cats, and more dirty jokes. Each Stitch n Bitch is as different as the women and men who are in them.
That’s awesome that you were bracing for an impact with awfulness while picking up the first Wool. I can see you cringing now. But I’m glad you gave me a chance and that I won you over!
Admittedly, the only S&B’s I’ve sat in on were my mother’s, so I probably have my father to thank for the limited sampling of topics I’ve overheard. :)
Thanks for reading and for posting! Hope to see you on Saturday. Maybe you can teach me how to purl.
I was attracted to Wool in part because of the title (I too am a knitter) and in part because of the excellent reviews on Amazon. I was delighted to find real knitting references that didn’t detract from the story. It’s like finding an easter egg in software!
I’ve been talking about your series at the local yarn store I work at ever since and not just because you mention knitting. The stories are very good!
Thanks so much for spreading the word! The success of these stories has been 100% because of readers like you. It literally took off on its own with no promotional work on my part. So please keep up the chatter, and I’ll keep writing! :)
I can see a problem here with your Blog page. When you look to the right and see your collection of books it is going to be non-symmetrical when WOOL 5 is added. You should think about an even number like 8 or 10.
I had the same thought! I just told Amber about that the other day. I’ll probably just center it, or make a graphic that says “Signed Copies,” or something.
My point was that you need to write more stories in this series.
I will. Eventually. But Wool 5 is going to wrap up this story line so people can stop yelling at me. And then I’m going to start a completely different series (because I’m a glutton for punishment), before moving on to a third and fourth thing. :)
[…] He also answers questions while knitting at a S&B. […]
Just read the Wool Omnibus….absolutely love everything about it and felt it was right up there with two of my fave authors, Philip K Dick and Ray Bradbury. They too were masters in their time of setting very human stories against dystopian backgrounds.
Now if this book had not been called ‘Wool”, then my partner would never have pointed it out. I am a knitter so he tells me about anything related to Wool and this attracted him to the Facebook competition for Wool inspired artworks.
Whilst reading it, I totally got the wool themes and metaphors and love the title as well as the titles of the books within this omnibus (Proper Gauge etc).I also like the general idea of characters ‘having the wool pulled over their eyes’ in many ways and the layers they have to clean off to get to the core truth about their World.
I so enjoyed this but better still….just love the success this book has had on the self publishing side. Warms the cockles of my heart!
I am now reading the ‘Shift’ prequels.
Thank you! Too sweet.
[…] The Stranded I started to think that Howey either knits or is close to someone who does, and I was right. I read the first book, Wool, and then immediately bought the Omnibus, with the first five […]