Copyright 2014 Sharona Jacobs Photography
I’m obsessed with Kelly Link. It took only one of her books, Get in Trouble, and the YA speculative fiction anthology she edited, Monstrous Affections, for me to get hooked. (Read both of those, by the way.) When the opportunity to interview her arose—because we follow each other on Twitter, and I decided to swing for the fences—I couldn’t pass it up! I hope everyone who reads this becomes as obsessed with her as I am!
I follow interesting people who talk about things that they love and draw my attention to things that I ought to be paying attention to.
When I joined Twitter, I had no real intention of being myself. Mostly I just wanted to follow accounts that seemed interesting. Haszombiesinit seemed to describe some essential quality of the internet and what I both like and dislike most about it.
And then at some point I accidentally tipped [author] Holly Black off to my presence, and she spilled the beans. So I’m on Twitter as myself and on Tumblr somewhat less officially.
Anyone who has any interest in narrative is drawn to patterns and the possibility of unlikely things being in some way interconnected. So I guess I’m interested in superstitions because they suggest stories and require suspension of disbelief and/or belief in the unreal. For example, the tradition of turning mirrors to face walls after someone dies, or saying “Rabbit, rabbit” on the first day of the month. But I don’t think that I’m particularly superstitious in my own life. If I impose any kind of outside narrative logic structure on how I live, it’s probably closer to horror movie logic.
I like my working life a great deal. I go over to [author] Cassandra Clare’s house and she, Holly Black, and I sit and all work at the same table for five or six hours. We talk about the projects that we’re working on, what we’re reading, and publishing in general. I can show them anything at any stage, and vice versa. It’s a great setup for an endeavor that, in general, I find excruciating and swampy.
Mostly, I wish I had a better work ethic. If I had a better work ethic, I would be better at getting through all the miserable bits—which is to say the part where I actually have to sit down and write.
What an interesting question! I was recently thinking that there’s a difference between the stories that, as a writer, you love but have no possessive feeling about—you’re just glad that they exist—versus the stories that you wish that you had written.
I mean, it would be terrific if I could approximate the approach to narrative of writers like Joy Williams, Helen Oyeyemi, Natalie Diaz, Grace Paley, Kathryn Davis—any number of people. But on the other hand, I get to read them and that seems, in many ways, preferable to writing like them.
But I do wish that I could have written Joe Hill’s short story “My Father’s Mask.” And I also wish I could write a romance novel in the style of Eva Ibbotson or Georgette Heyer.
We just tabled at AWP, so I spent a lot of time recommending Sofia Samatar and other writers we publish [at her indie press, Small Beer Press]. But I also just recommended Kathryn Davis’s Hell to a good friend, and I bought a couple copies of Thirsty by M. T. Anderson to give away to students. Also Lyda Barry’s Cruddy.
Ideally, living beside the ocean and spending most of her time in the water. Realistically, working in a bookstore.
Shows that I have binged and loved in the last few years: Fargo, Legion, The Vampire Diaries, Parks and Rec, The Good Place, and Over the Garden Wall. Up next: Atlanta and the third season of Fargo.
Could it be like The Great British Bakeoff? Lots of snacks and low on stakes.
Preferably a movie in which very little happens. But if it has to be a movie in which things happen, I’d like it to be like The Shop Around the Corner but directed by Guillermo del Toro.
A device that created an area of defined and contained anti-gravity would be nice. Then I could have a vertical swimming pool, by which I mean a giant floating sphere of water.
I grew up in Miami and spent a lot of time in the water, and although now as an adult I’m pretty far inland, I do much better writing when I can spend some portion of my time submerged in a pool or a lake.
Catching reptiles! Our neighbourhood in Miami was terrific for catching snakes, anoles, Cuban lizards, iguanas. Oh, and we had a schnauzer who liked to lie on top of my back while I lay on the floor reading books. All of my favourite childhood memories involve animals.
Sashimi. Shrimp. Cheerios. Watermelon. Pineapple. Muller yoghurt.
It suddenly occurs to me that everything I love most is cold. Except for pho! I love pho, and it is really no good when it’s cold.