What kind of question would you like answered?

Q: The band Franz Ferdinand have a song called “Lindsey Wells,” which came out in 2006. Is there any connection to Lindsey Wells and Franz Ferdinand’s grave in Katherines?

No it’s just a completely crazy coincidence. (She was called that long before the song existed.)

Q: Have you ever read David Malouf’s novel Ransom? Despite the stories being different, Katherines also has hints of Malouf’s ideas about the role of storytelling and narratives.

Those are indeed VERY different books (for one thing, Ransom is better), but yes, I’ve read it. It’s great, and yes, as you say, both novels are concerned with how and why we tell stories.

Q: Is there a connection between when Hassan sees “God hates fags” carved into the picnic table and when Holden Caulfield sees “Fuck you” written on the wall of Phoebe’s school?

No, but again, these things don’t have to be purposeful to be useful/interesting/meaningful. This is a nice example of books belonging to their readers.

I like that connection—one associates picnic tables with families eating together, a similar kind of innocence to the associations one has with a young kid’s school. And they’re both jarring moments of innocence jutting up against viciousness and cruelty, although I have to say that Salinger draws the scene more clearly and cleverly.

Q: Is there significance to Colin finishing the book “Seymour: An Introduction” by J.D. Salinger?

Well, anybody who writes about intelligence in teenagers does so in the shadow of the extraordinary children of Salinger’s Glass family. And I wanted to acknowledge that.

Obviously, Salinger is a much better writer than I am, but I do think very differently about prodigious intelligence than Salinger did, and I hoped that Katherines would offer a different perspective on prodigies. (That said, “Seymour: An Introduction” remains one of my favorite stories.)