Please welcome May Cobb, author of Big Woods!
Do you listen to music when you write?
Usually, I don’t. But since my novel, Big Woods, is set in the ‘80s, I listened to all my favorites during that time: Depeche Mode, INXS, Duran Duran, Siouxsie and the Banshees, R.E.M., Front 242, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, and of course, the soundtrack to the film, Xanadu.
Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?
During the actual writing of Big Woods I read and re-read the following three novels: Amanda Eyre Ward’s The Same Sky, for its gorgeous prose and intricate, dual-narrative structure which I tried to borrow heavily from for my novel, Paula Hawkins, Girl on A Train, because it’s hands-down one of my favorite thrillers and her deft gift for propulsion, and finally, Mary Helen Specht’s Migratory Animals, for its dreamy yet crisp prose and vibrant characters.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Living: Ruth Ware, A.J. Finn, Tana French, C.J. Tudor, Paula Hawkins, and (deceased) Wilkie Collins. I’d wager that each of these authors would be a blast to have a cocktail with and after I plied them without enough booze, I’d try and pry their writing secrets from them.
What’s next for you?
I’m finishing up a nonfiction project that’s been in the works for twenty years and that my novel interrupted. It’s the story of the legendary jazz musician, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who was a multi-instrumentalist who was best known for playing three saxophones at the same time. I first heard his music in college and became obsessed with it and spent the next several years traveling around, collecting stories about him.
When her sister disappears, the only clue Leah has is a cryptic message: Underground. By thewoods.
It ’s 1989 in the sleepy town of Longview, Texas,when ten-‐year-‐old Lucy disappears. Her parents, the police, and the community all brace for the worst, assuming her body will soon be found in Big Woods.Just l ike the other unsolvedkidnappings.
But then Lucy’s fourteen-year-old sister, Leah, starts having dreams about Lucy —dreams that reveal startling clues as to what happened. Leah begins her own investigation, and soon she meets a reclusive widow who may hold the key to finding Lucy. . . if only she can find the courage to come forward.
Delving into the paranoia surrounding satanic cults in the 1980s, Big Woods is an emotionally wrought, propulsive thriller about the enormity of grief, the magical bond between sisters, and a small town’s dark secrets.
May Cobb is a novelist and freelance writer based in Austin, Texas.
BIG WOODS was selected as the Winner in the 2015 Writer’s League of Texas Manuscript Contest, and the pitch to BIG WOODS was selected as the Winner for the 2016 NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza.
May earned her M.A. in Literature from San Francisco State University and has spent the past several years researching and writing a book about the late jazz great, Rahsaan Roland Kirk (forthcoming).
Her essays and interviews have appeared in The Washington Post, The Rumpus, Edible Austin, and Austin Monthly.
You can learn more about May by visiting her website: www.maycobb.com