Author Interview: John Whittier Treat

It is my pleasure to welcome author, John Whittier Treat to The Writing Life. His urban fiction novel, The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House is available now on Amazon.

John Treat author photo

John Whittier Treat is Emeritus Professor at Yale University and teaches literature at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. He is the author of Writing Ground Zero: Japanese Literature and the Atomic Bomb (Chicago, 1995), Great Mirrors Shattered: Homosexuality, Orientalism and Japan (Oxford, 1999) and editor of Contemporary Japan and Popular Culture (Curzon, 1994), and a novel The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House (Booktrope Editions, 2015). He has published on Yi Kwang-su in the Journal of Asian Studies and Im Hwa in Trans-Humanities; an essay on Chang Hyeokju will be included in a University of Hawai’i Press volume on affect and the Japanese Empire. His book Governing Metaphors: The Rise and Fall of Modern Japanese Literature is forthcoming in 2016 from the University of Chicago Press. He is currently researching pro-Japanese Korean writers under Japanese rule.

Welcome, John!

What is your book’s genre/category?

Urban fiction/literary fiction

Book Cover John Treat

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Gay men in Seattle at the start of the local AIDS crisis 1983-84.

Great book cover, John. How did you come up with the title?

The “Yellow House” was/is a real place.

What is the reason you wrote this book?

I wanted to write a novel about Seattle in the years before Amazon and Microsoft came to dominate.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Rewriting. The first draft is the hardest.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

Knowing whether to write “two days ago” or “two days earlier.”

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Too many to say. Dante, Shakespeare, Joyce, Marquez, Iris Murdoch, Jose Saramago, Samuel Delany, etc.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

D.H. Lawrence, Sarah Schulman, Edmund White, Saramago

Favorite place to write?

The Allegro Cafe in the U-District, Seattle.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I had a date once with Caroline Kennedy.

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

Unlike in academic publishing, many people have no manners.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

Swallowed my pride and asked for help.

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

What Filip Noeterdame told me: “Keep throwing shit against the wall, it eventually sticks.”


Where can we find your book?

Nowhere yet. Soon on online sellers.

What’s next for you?

Novel No. 2. FIRST CONSONANTS, the story of a stutterer who saves the world.

Thanks for visiting The Writing Life, John. Best wishes with the official release of THE RISE AND FALL OF THE YELLOW HOUSE.

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.


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Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born, Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the award-winning, historical novel, A DECENT WOMAN, published by Sixth Street River Press. The book is a Finalist in the 2016 International Latino Book Award with Latino Literacy Now, and was Book of the Month with Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club. She is featured in the award-winning anthology, Latino Authors and Their Muses, edited by Mayra Calvani. Eleanor is currently working on her second book, The Laments, set in 1927 Puerto Rico. Eleanor is a writer, artist, photographer, and blogger, who is never without a pen, notebook, and her camera. Her wonderful adult children are doing wonderful things in the world, which allows Eleanor the blessing of writing full time. Please visit Eleanor at her website:

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