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Rhythms of Nostalgia: An Interview with Christopher Gould, author of The Boys & Girls of America

Christopher Gould 1

Christopher Gould is a graduate of Nazareth College of Rochester where he earned a degree in Writing. His first novel, The George Stories, was published in 2019 and went on to be nominated for Central New York Book of the Year. Gould is a teacher by day and a writer by night. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and daughter.

You can buy The Boys & Girls of America here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

I had the title The Boys & Girls of America in my head way back when I was writing my first novel, The George Stories, but I wasn’t sure I’d ever get around to it. The title is actually borrowed from the indie rock band, The Hold Steady, who put out an album called Boys & Girls in America in 2006. It’s a variation of that title, but is more or less the same.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

I knew I wanted a map of the United States incorporated into the book cover, so it ended up being very much like the picture I had in mind. As for the first time I had the book in my hands, I was surprised by its girth—it’s a pretty long work at just under 500 pages.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I’m largely inspired by other authors—Salinger, Capote, and Nabokov come to the forefront of my mind. It’s an exhaustive list, really. An untold number of rock bands and songwriters have also played a massive role in my writing career.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

Along with being a public school teacher, I am a long-time Varsity Tennis coach. Tennis is one of my other passions, and chances are, if I’m not writing, you can find me on a tennis court.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

I spent many years submitting my work and getting nothing but rejection letters in return. With that in mind, having an editor say “yes” is by far the most rewarding part. That goes not only for Atmosphere, but other publications that have accepted my work.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

The Boys & Girls of America is a college novel set in the 90s. As such, it makes countless references to many of the bands of the era.

Pavement – “Summer Babe,” “Conduit For Sale”

Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Pearl Jam – “Evenflow”

The Police – “Message in a Bottle”

REM – “Losing My Religion”

The Samples – “Feel Us Shaking”

Matthew Sweet – “Girlfriend”

And many, many others.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

One of the things I hope readers take away from The Boys & Girls of America is how magical the 90s were, not to mention the role Gen X-ers play in our world. I also think the value of college has, of late, been questioned. With that in mind, I hope The Boys & Girls of America reinforces what college can do for a young person.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I’m at the very beginning of a new novel. It’s set on the St. Lawrence River, where my family has a summer cottage. It’s not a memoir, though.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

The Boys & Girls of America is my second novel with Atmosphere. I’ve had nothing but a positive experience on both occasions. As far as advice goes, keep writing, keep reading and continue to submit your work!

You can buy The Boys & Girls of America here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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