Mary Margaret Alvarado speaks about her book Hey Folly, and much else:

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing

What is your working title of your book?
My book is called Hey Folly.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
My ears.

What genre does your book fall under?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The man in the library with the pantyhose on his head will be played by the man in the
library with the pantyhose on his head. Amy Leach will be played by a bog in blossom.
Ashley Capps will be played by 1,000 newly-liberated goats. Anna will be played by
Connie Britton, sassy styles. Choi Jeong Rye will be played by an unmarked snowfield in
a great American city. Atoo will be played by Atoo, with Lillian Gish as her understudy.
The movie will be three days long and made of decayed film. It will be projected, out-of-
doors, on the featureless side of a whitewashed old building and supper will be served on
the grounds. No dialogue, just music.

 What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I like colors.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
This book was published in March 2013 by the good and noble people who run Dos
Madres Press, in Cincinnati, Ohio. I love that “in an ever more virtual world” they are
committed to “the creation of fine books pleasing to the eye and hand.”

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Too long. I’ve got three books cooking. Then I became a ma, and my whole being was
translated. But this book isn’t from that part of my life; it’s from before.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?
That question makes me nervous.

Okay, moving on. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Hermits; the limestone hills of Kentucky and a feeling I had once in Dubuque; the rubber
thumb my father used to wear over his thumb and the way he’d sit at the kitchen table
after it was cleared and give dictation into a little tape recorder, how he would
say ‘comma, end paren, Gloucster V. period’ and other codes; strings of sounds; jokes;
books I used to randomly take off of the shelves in the University of Iowa’s architecture
library; a documentary on Jazz; Marc Chagall’s paintings; dead malls; Choi, Evelyn P.,
Aaron, Brittany, Amy, my siblings and everyone I’ve ever loved; a homestay in
Ovamboland; getting naked; running around lakes; ugliness that surprises you with its
prettiness; the art of Andy Goldsworthy and the bodily way that he goes about
conducting it; my neighbor Dave; chaperoning a dance at the deaf and blind school
which got very radiant; spending a summer at a different deaf school with a localized,
non-standard language; people who have died; friends falling apart; me falling apart;
stuff from biology class; Woody Allen; Maryhouse; a comedy class I took in college; our
street; what it’s like to be expecting a stranger; bus rides and train rides across middle
America; teaching at a poor high school in Midtown Manhattan; the special electric
feeling I get on some streets; U.S. foreign policy (to speak euphemistically); our
economy (ditto); thinking about concrete; when my roommate Brad decided to draw all
of his favorite buildings in Manhattan; a vision; gods; God; an interior sensation of
having been swept; the way Atoo talked; Atoo; woebegone places in my hometown;
Waiting for the Barbarians; a bricolage poem by Emily Heistand; color; the ends of the
world; consolation/desolation; walking around; the things people put in their yards; the
panhandle of Texas; Hud; falling in the hole; Luc’s snowman; PLAND; mesas; how the
digital revolution is changing language; what it would be like to never see your face or
pictures of your face; what it would be like to be faceless; the structure of via positiva/via
negativa; the name of “What Cheer,” Iowa; granddaddy; messing with fixed non-poetic
forms; assigning myself nonce forms; series; these girls I passed once in Iowa City when
I was walking on the sidewalk and they were driving a Suburban and one yelled out, “My
mother never fed me fishsticks!”; Jane and Kassie and other prophets I have known;
rape; death; people who survive fires; musical notation; intonation; being so sad; feeling
my awfulness in me like a hollow; being so happy I shoot straight off the ground; praying
and trying to pray; objects; my mother; good and bad design; the way light paints things;
shapes; light; being mesmerized; the concept of Jubilee and other general clemencies;
people who go into hiding and who are they then; breaking up; crushing hard; meeting
Nico and Nico; Edward Hopper’s work; Andrew Wyeth’s work; Kant’s categorical
imperative; reading about how polar explorers used to cover their eyes when they
approached glaciers as the sight was too stunning to behold; the surprise of my father’s
marginalia; wanting and not getting; dots’ perceptions of cubes; the King James
translation of the Psalms; Edward Sale’s translation of the Qur’an; a boat ride near
Boston; spying on people; trying to actually see a person; different kinds of death; lines
and how to break them; hand-drawn signs; wanting to be a better human than I am;
Grimm’s fairy tales; lots of poems and books of poems; swimming laps at the Robert A.
Lee community center and what water does to light; some exhibits at the Denver Art
Museum; very thick silence; hitchhiking and picking up hitchhikers; a funeral procession
I saw in India; a feast in honor of Ganesh that I attended with my contacts out and no
glasses on; a summer I spent in the backcountry without mirrors or toilets or electricity or
phones; the time I ran away to live in a state park in Iowa; imagining the city’s
resurrection as conducted by animals; animals; listening to too much Beirut and Sigur
Ros during my twenties; stealing words; words.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There’s a typo (my fault) on the bottom of page 78. The last quatrain should be two

That didn’t pique my interest.
How about this? I rhyme “bonny” and “ennui.”

N.B.: I was tagged by Kristin Hatch, the author of Through the Hour Glass and the
forthcoming the meatgirl whatever: (
interviews-the-next-big-thing-with-kristin-hatch/). And by Ashley Capps, author of
Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields (
book-details/ I tag Melissa Dickey, author of The Lily Will
and co-editor of Thermos (, and Aaron
Cohick, head of the press at Colorado College and author of The New Manifesto of
the NewLights Press (

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