Saturday, March 15, 2014


'A witty, comedic journey'


'Laid back and quirky'


'Did I mention it was funny'


'Full of unusual characters'


'Pour me another sun tea -- 
in the Flintstones glass, of course'


'Well-written and interesting'


'This little tale moves sweetly from one story to another but never leaves itself '


'A remarkably beautiful story'

(from Quinton Blue's wife:)

'I've read worse novels.'

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

When is a novel art?

Some people say there is no difference between art and commercial fiction, or between literary fiction and genre fiction. The only difference, it is sometimes asserted, is that the literary types are pretentious, pretending there is something more in literary fiction than in other kinds.

If literary fiction is an attempt at art, and I think it is, then what is art?

I came across this quote from the philosopher Jacques Maritain on art:

"The essential character of art ... is to instruct us how to make something, so that it is constructed, formed or arranged, as it ought to be, and thus to secure the perfection or goodness, not of the maker, but of the object itself."

I don't think I've ever read a better definition of art.

We know that many commercial films today are completed with the help of test audiences. If the test audience doesn't like the ending of the movie, then it is changed. Such a film can't be art because it isn't concerned with creating something "as it ought to be." The film is creating something as people prefer it to be, which seldom has anything to do with how the film ought to be. (Many films don't have to be changed because the makers are wise to what the market wants and never attempt to connect with what ought to be.)

So, literary fiction isn't so much about being something more, as it is about being something entirely different in character.

Maritain points to another little truth when he says art is about the object itself, not the maker. (For novels, I would add, for clarity's sake, that it also is not about the reader.)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Flannery O'Connor on Home

"When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville." -- Flannery O'Connor

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nora Joyce on "Ulysses"

"He knows nothing at all about women." --Nora Barnacle Joyce, wife of James Joyce, after being told that "Ulysses" shows the writer knows "so much about the real psychology of a woman."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jack London on Art

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." --Jack London

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Interview With Blue

Below is a link to an interview on "The Sun Tea Chronicles" with Quinton Blue. 

The June 2012 Interview

Click above.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What's "The Sun Tea Chronicles" About? ... Five Questions For Quinton Blue

What's "The Sun Tea Chronicles" about?
It's about a guy named Jimmy Sparrow who drops out of the work world to do nothing. He sits in a lawn chair, making sun tea, and watching the world go by. I think we've all thought about saying to hell with everything at one time or another in our lives. Jimmy does it.

How do you make a novel out of a guy who does nothing?
Actually it flowed pretty easily. A guy who drops out challenges everything the rest of us do. Just by existing, he forces people to think about what they're doing. So everybody who meets Jimmy Sparrow has to make up his or her mind about him. To some, he's a bum. To others, he's a poet, a saint, a philosopher, a freedom guy. The story has a comic undertone and is set in the 1980s in Indiana, which poses its own contrasts.

Why did you choose the 1980s?
It's a perfect counterpoint to Jimmy Sparrow. I mean, you had the yuppies who were all on an ambition and wealth track. You had the corporate raiders who were gaming the system. But you also had the downwardly mobile, the people who were on the outside. The characters in "The Sun Tea Chronicles" are all on the fringe of society in some way. But they're well-aware of what's going on around them, what's being said in the media, and so on. They know the train left without them. It's just a question of whether they care or not.

Why Indiana?
Indiana is an interesting place, a mix of Chicago-like urban and Norman Rockwell Americana. In the northwestern part of the state, people feel more connection to Chicago than to Indianapolis. This book is set in South Bend, which has a bit of a dead-end, left-behind feel to it. No offense, I grew up there, but South Bend hit its peak in population in the Studebaker days and never really recovered. Indiana also has a history tied to the American Indian and to the South because Studebaker drew many Southerners north for work, and all these crosscurrents come into play in the novel.

If you had to sum up the book in one word, what would that word be?
Quirky. This is a novel for people who are, shall we say, a bit different. There's a chapter called, "Flunking Thoreau." Once a person gets on the path of dress for success and career as god, then they've flunked Thoreau. They never should've been let out of high school. But Thoreau was more complicated than the unconventional side, too. He didn't fit the unconventional box because his life was much different after Walden Pond. So, this novel is for the people who are the round pegs in a square-peg world.

Quinton Blue was born and raised in Indiana and recently moved from California to Texas.  "The Sun Tea Chronicles" is his second novel. The first he shredded years ago. He's now recreating it, so his first novel will become his second novel sometime in 2015.