Interview with C.V. Vobh, Author of The Yawning Gap
03 Aug 2023
What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Yawning Gap?
It goes back to the late 1990s. We were still in that post-USSR, pre-9/11 moment when the western world believed it was living at the end of history, and it’d be just a few more years before peace, capitalism and democracy finished spreading across the world. And, like many teenagers in that era, I was bored. Life felt as inauthentic as a smile at the fast food counter and as homogenous as the food. It seemed to me that a lot of life’s interest would be restored if the world outside one’s home felt as weird and foreign as it had in premodern times.
That’s where the idea for the Boundaries came from. A sort of thought experiment: “What would happen if some catastrophe left our globalized world fragmented, so a bunch of jaded moderners suddenly had to survive as farmers and hunter-gatherers? What would that world look like a thousand years later?” That’s half of where The Wanderers Cycle came from.
Meanwhile, I’d been sketching out ideas for characters for a couple of years and had some names already—Cor, Deliad, Shadin, and Celeste—as well as a rough sense of who I wanted each to be. I also had some very specific scenes in mind involving those characters and some other plot elements like the Sojourner. I made a few aborted efforts to bring those characters together in a story (which, alas, still survives on my hard drive), but it always felt like I wasn’t doing justice to the idea.
Then, I went off to college, studied traditional formal poetry, and wrote a bunch of stuff that wasn’t fantasy until 2016. At that point, I finally sat down to start writing the book I’d meant to write as a teenager. Seven years later, here I am, with four books written and the first of them—The Yawning Gap—released last month.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Yawning Gap, what would they be?
This is actually a question I’d given a lot of thought to! On hearing One Big Holiday by My Morning Jacket around 2021, I immediately felt strongly that it captured Cor’s character: a sanguine intensity and artistry that begins and ends purely with guitar work, and a reflective interlude in the middle where the singer joins in with a surprisingly melancholy sense of musing. The song of a warm but intense character who reveals himself mostly through what he does, but reveals a surprising depth sometimes when he finally speaks.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
My favorite genres to read and write are fantasy and poetry. Best of all is when the two come together in one work, as you find sometimes in Lord of the Rings, Wizard of Earthsea, Book of the New Sun, etc.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
I’m almost finished with Matt Dinniman’s Dungeon Crawler Carl series. As someone who had no real inclination toward LitRPGs, I was shocked and impressed by the visceral, down-to-earth humanity of the characters. It’s a series about people. The fact that there’s a made-up numerical system governing how they interact is just a tool used by the author to get at real things: humans in intense situations and how they relate to one another.
After that, there’s a long list I’ve started and have to finish: Kings of the Wyld, The Fifth Season, The Girl and The Stars, and many others.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
The confrontation at the end of The Yawning Gap, particularly the “one on one” portion.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
I type with a black background and green text, like a 1980s Apple computer or something out of Fallout.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
Personally, I find it more satisfying to let stories and memories inspire me along from day to day than any particular philosophy. Whenever I try to distill a philosophy out of life experiences, it always loses part of what makes life feel real and whole and healthy. Like trying to take a healthy, hearty diet and systematically reduce it to a regimen of pills. There’s always some irreducible complexity that’s lost.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
I hope they’ll remember the poetry of it. Genre fiction has always been plot-and-character-centric, and more so today than ever. If some readers leave The Yawning Gap feeling that poetic language can also be a “hook” for readers, I’ll be happy.
C.V. Vobh is the author of the new book The Yawning Gap
Connect with C.V. VobhAuthor Site
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