Called "One of our brightest cultural commentators" by Publishers Weekly, Kit Reed has a new novel out called Enclave. Others include Thinner Than Thou, which won an ALA Alex award. Often anthologized, her short stories appear in venues ranging from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov's SF and Omni to The Yale Review, The Kenyon Review and The Norton Anthology of American Literature. A Guggenheim fellow and the first American recipient of a five-year literary grant from the Abraham Woursell Foundation, she is Resident Writer at Wesleyan University. Recently, she took time out from her busy schedule to talk to me about Enclave.
Amazon.com: Enclave has a cast of thousands, ranging from Marines and monks and a disgraced physician's assistant to the next generation of brat-packers and misfits, including a transgendered boy and two MMORPG addicts, one a foul-mouthed twelve-year-old who accidentally killed a guy and the other an epileptic prince. Then there's also the mysterious intruder. You've locked them all up in a Benedictine monastery turned into a high-end boarding school on an island mountaintop. Where does all this come from?
Kit Reed: All from my life, where, I guess, nothing I see is wasted. I was a military kid, which meant we moved a lot. I was in fourth grade in four different schools, and when you move all the time it makes you hyper-observant. You have to be, to find your way home from places, and to fit in at whichever school. You have to talk the talk and walk the walk and wear the right thing or the local kids will destroy you, and it makes you hyper-observant. I have trans friends, epileptic friends, geek friends in quantity. So it all comes from that, I suppose. Well, that and the dream, about which more later.
What else. I lived on military bases and did time in a convent boarding school, with bells for waking up, going to bed, lights out, all that, just like trumpets playing Reveille, Tattoo and Taps on military bases. I found out cloisters and bases are run in a lot of the same ways. Everything done in a certain way at a given time. Every day. It's all about the discipline, and that you can depend on the system is what keeps the operation going. If the system breaks down, as it does when plague surfaces in Sarge Whitemore's ideal Academy, everything's up for grabs.