7 Minutes in Book Heaven with Lucian Childs and Dreaming Home

Welcome to our Summer of Book Love series!

Every Tuesday this summer we will feature new episodes of 7 Minutes in Book Heaven which has your next summer read! New episodes of This Queer Book Saved My Life! drop this September.

Today we meet Lucian Childs and his new novel: Dreaming Home.

What’s it about? When a sister’s casual act of betrayal awakens their father’s demons–ones spawned by his time in Vietnamese POW camps–the effects of the ensuing violence against her brother ripple out over the course of forty years, from Lubbock, to San Francisco, to Fort Lauderdale. Swept up in this arc, the members of this family and their loved ones tell their tales. A queer coming-of-age, and coming-to-terms, and a poignant exploration of all the ways we search for home, Dreaming Home is the unforgettable story of the fragmenting of an American family.

Buy Dreaming Home

Visit our Bookshop or buy directly right now: https://bookshop.org/a/82376/9781771965491

Connect with Lucian Childs

Website: lucianchilds.com
Instagram: @lucian_childs
Facebook: Lucian-Childs-Author
Twitter: @lucianchilds

Become an Associate Producer!

Become an Associate Producer of our podcast through a $20/month sponsorship on Patreon! A professionally recognized credit, you can gain access to Associate Producer meetings to help guide our podcast into the future! Get started today: patreon.com/thisqueerbook

Quatrefoil Library

Quatrefoil has created a curated lending library made up of the books featured on our podcast! If you can’t buy these books, then borrow them! Link: https://libbyapp.com/library/quatrefoil/curated-1404336/page-1

Credits

Host/Founder: J.P. Der Boghossian
Executive Producer: Jim Pounds
Associate Producers: Archie Arnold, Natalie Cruz, Paul Kaefer, Nicole Olila, Joe Perazzo, Bill Shay, and Sean Smith
Patreon Subscribers: Stephen D., Thomas Michna, and Gary Nygaard.

Transcript

[theme music]

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Welcome to 7 Minutes in Book Heaven. My name is J.P. Der Boghossian. I’m an essayist, Lambda Literary Fellow, and founder of the Queer Armenian Library. And this is the podcast where I interview LGBTQ authors about the new books they have coming out for us to love and to cuddle up with. This is part of our Summer of Book Love series. Every Tuesday, for the rest of the summer we have your next book to read at the beach, or the pool, or in your bedroom next to the air conditioner. New episodes of This Queer Book Saved My Life! return on September 18! But today, I’m joined by Lucian Childs to discuss his new book, Dreaming Home. Hello Lucian.

Lucian Childs:
Hello, thank you for having me on. Thank you.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Absolutely. I’m really looking forward to talking about your book and getting to know more about you. So how does that work? How does our podcast do that? I have seven questions for Lucian and we’re going to spend the next seven or so minutes in this virtual studio talking about dreaming home while also getting to know more about the amazing writer who is Lucian Childs. So, Lucian, are you ready?

Lucian Childs:
Yes, I am.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Alright, the timer is set and here we go. Question number one, please describe Dreaming Home as if you’re sharing it with your celebrity crush and telling us who that special person is, of course.

Lucian Childs:
Well, I guess like many people after White Lotus, my celebrity crush is Aubrey Plaza. I just love

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Ha ha

Lucian Childs:
Her snarkiness and her intelligence and her wit and her ability to underplay everything and yet you know exactly what she’s thinking and feeling. So I would say that my show, if I was saying to Aubrey, it starts with a very Aubrey Plaza-esque character, the sister, who is a little bit snarky or a little bit jazzier and sassy than Aubrey usually is. But so it starts in Fort Hood, an army base in Fort Hood in Colleen, Texas. And then it moves to San Francisco and finally winds up in Fort Lauderdale and covers almost 40 years in a fairly short span from 1977 to 2015, being billed as a coming of age, coming out story, and I guess to a large extent it is, but I really also see it as a family drama. So you get in this, it’s a little bit interesting form. It’s a novel in stories. So, you know, the whole thing as a big overarching narrative, it feels like a novel, but it’s told in six short stories. Each one of those has their own arc. From the point of view of the… the main character, the central character, Kyle, his sister and his mother, and Kyle’s two lovers. So add to this family drama, issues of domestic violence, conversion therapy, queer youth homelessness, San Francisco at the heights of the AIDS crisis, it’s a handy mix, but it’s also funny, and because, I mean, what are you gonna do? Gotta laugh, right?

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Ha ha ha.

Lucian Childs:
So there’s plenty of opportunities, mainly the women, I have to say, in this book, are oversized characters. And, you know, they’re saucy and sassy and brash. And so there’s plenty of opportunity to write funny dialogue and scenes. But it really does center around the trauma that the main character, Kyle, experienced in his childhood and how that affects him going forward in his whole life. And so he has problems with depression, difficulty maintaining relationships. But through that, as we all do, we create successful lives. He becomes an architect in San Francisco. But I would say, you know, each chapter is marked by some kind of reversal, you know, because obstacle is the main component in literary fiction. Without it, there would be no literary fiction. And so each chapter, there’s a kind of reversal. But as I say, one door closes, another opens. So I think there is, even though the family fragments and there’s a breaking apart of all these people, new connections are made. And, you know, there’s a, you know, I just feel like. if the reader is gonna spend a lot of time with these characters and kind of fall in love with them away, you know, they have to come out of it thinking that there are good outcomes for that character even if they’re only sketchily described or it’s just, you know, merely implied on the page. So, you know, it has to be, you know, hope springs eternal and I think that’s really important for me and it’s a mark of the book. So that’s what I would tell Aubrey if she was here today. Ha ha.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Absolutely, and you just got a special recognition from the Globe and Mail, correct?

Lucian Childs:
I did. A national newspaper here in Canada, they named it as one of the best reads of Spring 2023. And, you know, I’m just a debut author and, and with no name recognition and was up there with a lot of big names like Kelly Link and some others. And so I’m pretty excited and also gobsmacked by the whole thing.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Well, congratulations. Ooh, we’re running low on time here, so we’re gonna keep it going. Question number two, what is a sentence from a novel, essay, poem, or other book that every time you read it, it gives you all the feels?

Lucian Childs:
Uh, okay. So, um, it’s from Maurice, you know, uh, Ian Courser’s book. And, um, it’s, I think it’s when they’re in the hotel and they just had sex for the first time, or it could be when they’re in the boathouse about to, to run off to their fabulous new life, uh, which was beautifully described by, uh, uh, in the, uh, a sequel novel called Alec. I would recommend to anyone. Anyway, um, Maurice says to Alec. I should have gone through life half awake if you’d had the decency to leave me alone. Awake intellectually, yes, and emotionally in a way. But here he pointed with his pipe stem to his heart and both smiled. Perhaps we woke one another up. I like to think that anyway.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Mm, such a great novel. Oh, that sentence, it makes me want to reread it again! Thank you for that. Okay, question number three. What do you feel is the best sentence you’ve ever written?

Lucian Childs:
Well, that’s a hard one, but I’m going to go with this one. It’s from the fourth chapter of the book. I slurped my latte and stared out the large window at what would sometimes be a spectacular scene. The Bay, sugar frosted on blustery days, marbled when calmed, bisected by the loopy cantonneries of the Bay Bridge. He’s looking out over. He’s in a house above the Castro looking out over the over the bay and it’s a foggy day. So he can’t see any of that outside his window, but he recalls that.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
That is very evocative.

Lucian Childs:
Thank you.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Okay, question number four! What’s the best romantic scene you’ve ever read?

Lucian Childs:
Well, I know that I’ve ever read, but I’ve read lately, Aleksandr, Alexzander Hemann has written this gorgeous novel with an epic sweep called The World and All That It Holds. And it chronicles this huge story of these two lovers, Osman and Pinto. It starts out in Sarajevo at the outbreak of the First World War and goes up. I think for 40 or 50 years, winds up in China. But at this point, they have surmounted like unbelievable catastrophes and hardships and have found this moment, this interlude of calm where they can enjoy their love in private. And there’s this one night in, They’re in Tashkent in Uzbekistan in this glorious summer night in this garden. I just thought I’d read one beautiful line that Pinto says to Osman. He says, everything I’ve ever had, everything I’ve ever been, the whole world I’ve always hidden and carried inside me. When you are right here and I can touch you, it all comes out with ease. Like a breath. And

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Mmm.

Lucian Childs:
I just love that. It just makes me think of the times that I’ve had that kind of situation where you feel deeply recognized and you can be finally yourself at the deepest level.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
It’s amazing how recognition can be so romantic.

Lucian Childs:
because you so infrequently get it, you know?

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Right?

Lucian Childs:
And on that kind of deep level.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Yeah, I know. Hmmm. Okay question number five what are your favorite scents or smells to write about?

Lucian Childs:
Well, you know, in writing, you’re always, you know, told to write all five senses. And I try to do that when I can. And so I’d like to say like smells particularly and sounds, but it smells because they’re so evocative. But, you know, I’m a human being and human beings favor sight. I guess that’s because we used to be like hunters way back in prehistoric days or something. So my writing is super visual and people are telling me now, cause the book is kind of out there, people are reading it, and they said that it feels to them like they’re watching a movie in their head. So that’s kind of the biggest compliment that a writer could get.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Yes, congratulations on that. That’s always cool to hear. Okay, question number six. What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever got?

Lucian Childs:
Well, I just think of practically every rule you get in a writing workshop. You know, they’re mostly for short stories and I, you know, I’m basically a short story writer. So, uh, you know, they always say don’t switch POVs. That’s a big one. Don’t head hop, they call it. And the other one they say is like always start in medias res, you know, in the middle of the action, never with setting or exposition. And, and, um, you know, if you read a lot of books, which I do, I think you see, Truly great writers are breaking all of these rules all the time. So the only rule I would say that I really do resonate with is, as standard is, don’t kill your darlings. I mean, just kill your darlings. So that’s absolutely necessary.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Hmm. And I was just gonna say, doesn’t Virginia Woolf do head hopping like in every single novel of hers?

Lucian Childs:
I mean, it’s more frequent in novels to have multiple points of view, which was so great to do this novel in short stories because I get to explore multiple points of view, but in short stories, you’re really warned off of that. And I’ve always thought, well, you know, there are multiple characters in a story. Why can’t there be multiple point of views? But it’s not done too often.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Hmm, well that is terrible writing advice. Hahaha. Okay,

Lucian Childs:
Hehehehehehe

J.P. Der Boghossian:
question number seven. Promote yourself! How do we order your book? How do we follow you on social?

Lucian Childs:
So you could, it’s available for pre-order everywhere. Biblioasis is an amazing press here in Canada and they’ve hooked up with the distributor that’s quite astounding. I mean you could get it in Denmark, you can get it in England, pre-order it. And it won’t actually be in bookstores until June the 6th. But I’m, if you’re going to order it online, I’m in curious. encouraging people to order it from the publisher just because I think they’ll get a bit a bigger hit you can Find a link to that page on my website, which is www.lutionchilds.com L-U-C-I-A-N in child with an S You can follow me on Twitter. I’m trying to tweet every day that I’m not always successful and then at Lucian Childs. On Instagram, I’m at Lucian underscore Childs. Facebook, you can search for me at Lucian Childs dash author. And again, my website is www.lucianchilds.com.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Perfect. Well that is all the time that we have. Thank you so much Lucian.

Lucian Childs:
Thank you so much. It’s been fun.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Well, thanks everyone for listening today. This podcast is Executive Produced by Jim Pounds. Our Associate Producers are Archie Arnold, Natalie Cruz, Paul Kaefer, Nicole Ollila, Joe Perazzo, Bill Shea, and Sean Smith.

Visit our Bookshop to buy the books featured on our podcasts as well as to browse new collections specifically curated by me.
thisqueerbook.com/bookshop

We’re @thisqueerbook on Facebook and Instagram. I’m also @jp_derboghossian on TikTok where I tok about LGBTQ books!

Be here next Tuesday for the next in our Summer of Book Love series. Until then, see you queers and allies in the bookstores.

[theme music]