7 Minutes in Book Heaven with Rebecca Turkewitz and Here in the Night

Welcome to our Summer of Book Love series!

Our series concludes today as we meet Rebecca Turkewitz and her new new spooky story collection: Here in the Night.

New episodes of This Queer Book Saved My Life! drop next Tuesday! September 19th!

What’s it about? The thirteen stories in Rebecca Turkewitz’s debut collection, Here in the Night, are engrossing, strange, eerie, and emotionally nuanced. Preoccupied with all manner of hauntings, these stories traverse a boarding school in the Vermont woods, the jagged coast of Maine, an attic in suburban Massachusetts, an elevator stuck between floors, and the side of an unlit highway in rural South Carolina.

At the center of almost every story is the landscape of night, with all its tantalizing and terrifying potential. After dark, the familiar becomes unfamiliar, boundaries loosen, expectations fall away, and even the greatest skeptics believe—at least fleetingly—that anything could happen.

Buy Here in the Night

Visit our Bookshop or buy directly right now: https://bookshop.org/a/82376/9781625570574

And read Danez Smith’s The 17 Year Old and the Gay Bar here at The Poetry Foundation’s website.

Connect with Rebecca Turkewitz

Website: rebeccaturkewitz.com
Instagram: @Rebecca_Turkewitz_Writes
Twitter: @R_Turkewitz

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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., Steven Flamm, Thomas Michna, and Gary Nygaard.

Transcript

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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 next Tuesday! September 19th! Today, I’m joined by Rebecca Turkewitz to discuss her new book Here in the Night. Hello, Rebecca!

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Thank you for having me.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Absolutely! How are you today?

Rebecca Turkewitz:
All right, I’m a little frazzled. Public high school teacher right now, but I’m glad to be here. I’m very excited to be here.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Well, thank you for the work that you’re doing as a teacher and also as a writer. And how our podcast works here today is that I have seven questions for Rebecca. And we’re gonna spend approximately the next seven minutes in this virtual studio talking about here in the night. We’ll also get into know more about the amazing writer who is Rebecca Tarkowitz. So Rebecca, are you ready?

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Yes.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Okay, the timer. Okay, the timer is set and here we go. Question number one. Please describe here in the night as if you’re sharing it with your celebrity crush and telling us who that special person is.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Alright, I’m not a huge celebrity crush person, but for years I have had a little bit of a crush on Tig Notaro, the comedian.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Oh!

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Oh, okay, so you get it!

J.P. Der Boghossian:
I get it. Totally get it.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Yeah, so hopefully, you know, she’s listening. Maybe someone sends her this episode. I don’t know, but so, Tig, Here in the Night is a collection of 13 spooky literary stories. It’s got queer ghost stories, it’s got a haunted hotel, it’s got dark main woods, boarding school murder mystery. Yeah, I think I think I think you’d like it.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
It can be an early Halloween present for ourselves. It seems like a really good fall read.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
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?

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Yeah, so there’s a poet I really love, Danez Smith, and one of my favorite poems is The Seventeen Year Old and the Gay Bar. It’s about a kid’s first time dancing in a gay bar.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Oh.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
And the opening line is, this gin-heavy heaven blessed ground to think gay and mean we.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Oh,

Rebecca Turkewitz:
I know,

J.P. Der Boghossian:
wow.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
I know.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Wow.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
And yes, yeah, every time I read it, it just like stops me in my tracks. It’s just such a beautiful articulation of what it’s like to be finally in a queer space in a queer community.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Right? Oh, we’re definitely going to link to that in the show notes and on our website. Thank you for sharing that. Okay, question number three. What do you feel is the best sentence you’ve ever written?

Rebecca Turkewitz:
This question is really hard for me. I think because I think because I do most of my best writing at the very end of stories where you need like so much context or like there are spoilers, but I’m going to do my best. So here it is. And their hearts are rioting in the cages of their chests and their limbs are pulsing and their bodies are electric and they are ready to flee together into the hot and waiting night.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Damn.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Shh.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Wow. That… Okay, don’t give us the context, but tell us what that story is, which title of the story.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Yeah, so that’s the short story. It’s the title story of the collection. It’s called Here in the Night.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Here in the night. Okay, well that is, wow. First of all, yes, epic sentence. And two, now I absolutely, and I hope everyone else needs to read that story based off of that one sentence because that’s a, mwah, chef’s kiss. Okay, question number four. What’s the best romantic scene you’ve ever read?

Rebecca Turkewitz:
This one is kind of like an iconic scene already, but I still have to go with this. The final scene in Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, which is about a lesbian couple that’s been through the whole work. They’ve had to kind of exist in their relationship outside of the world, and there’s been all this conflict, and they’ve kind of separated. And the very last scene is the narrator. walks into a bar where Carol, her former lover is, and Carol is happy to see her. And it’s one of the earliest happy endings to a lesbian novel.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Isn’t that, I mean the happy endings. Like some people like are down on the happy endings and like we get to have those too. And it’s

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
always so nice to have those at the end of the book too. So absolutely, absolutely. Okay, question number five. What are your favorite smells to write about? And I really am looking forward to the answer to this question.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Yes, I love writing about smells. I think because a lot of my stories are kind of spooky, like fall vibes.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
That’s what I was talking about. This is why I’m interested to see what’s gonna be.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
I really like writing the smells at night, like night air, like pine and wood smoke, dead leaves, damp earth, that kind of smellscape there, spooky smell-scape.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
atmospheric. Yeah, that is very spooky. Ooh, love it. I really can’t wait to dive into your book here. Okay, question number six. What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever got?

Rebecca Turkewitz:
When I was in grad school, a fellow grad student told me that under no circumstances could I ever write about the weather. Like never.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
What?

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
What does that even mean?

Rebecca Turkewitz:
That he felt that the weather, of course it was a heat, felt like the weather was unnecessary context. It was cheating to set the atmosphere.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Did they never read The Waves by Virginia Woolf?

Rebecca Turkewitz:
That’s a great question.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Well, yes, let’s chalk that up, bad writing advice. Okay, question number seven, promote yourself. How do we order your book? How do we follow you on social?

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Yeah, so you can preorder my book. It comes out July 21st, or maybe this will come out after. I don’t know. You can order my book through blacklorents.com, which is a publisher, or you can get, I order it from local bookstores or Burns and Noble, Amazon, if you must. My website is Rebecca Turkowitz writes, and you can find me on Twitter at r underscore Turkowitz, and Instagram, Rebecca, Rebecca Turkowitz writes. Yeah.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Perfect. And it looks like we have some extra time left, so I’m going to ask you the most impossible question ever. What is your favorite story in your collection? Or how about this? What is the story that is like the one and, like you would say, absolutely start here in the collection?

Rebecca Turkewitz:
That’s a great question. I actually think so the first story in the collection is about a haunted hotel. It’s called At This Late Hour. And you can actually read it now. It was previously published at the Master’s Review.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Ooh.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
And I think it has a lot of the same themes that are in my, it’s a really good introduction to what I like to write about and the themes in my, you know, it’s a ghost story, a haunted hotel in New England.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Perfect. Perfect, well and that right there is all the time that we have. Right on time. Well thank you so much Rebecca.

Rebecca Turkewitz:
Yeah, thank you so much.

J.P.: 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. And be here next Tuesday for the return

Until then, see you Queers and allies in the bookstores.

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