Tell us about your favourite books and your writerly heroes.
I was a voracious reader from and early age and that hasn’t changed as I’ve moved into adulthood. Once, I loved books like Edward Eager’s Half Magic; now books like The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell are my jam. Margaret Atwood, Mark Daniewlski, John Darnielle—anyone who plays with form while also exploring the human condition. I like books that sit on the crossroads of genre as well—books that feel real, but have something a little extra.
Describe your writing haven/hovel?
My office is my haven. When we moved into our house, my husband and I bickered over who would get the room with a built-in corkboard wall. I won the coin toss. It has a heavy wooden secretary desk which we just barely fit through the door, music posters, a portable record player—and lots and lots of wood paneling.
What inspires you? Tell us about some of the things that drive you to write.
I’m interested in using fiction to explore the hidden stories behind everyday life. So much of our lives are spent creating narratives. Every person has a secret they occlude from others. By revealing these secrets, we can move the reader closer to emotional catharsis. I feel this is the true purpose of fiction, not just entertainment, but also absolution.
Funny you should ask! I was just putting together a soundtrack for the novel on spotify (https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0ahjidEKrUbBVeZDYqQDp6). Of course, there would be loads of 60s surf rock and baroque rock for Vidya—not just the Beach Boys but Jan and Dean and the Left Banke. For Jamie, we would need some Manic Street Preachers—and maybe some mainstream music that’s beyond my own idiosyncratic and often dated tastes. And for Annie, loads and loads of Mirah. Mirah’s 2000 album You Think It’s Like This But It’s Really Like This provided much of the soundtrack for the drafting and editing process for Strange Creatures.
In a zombie apocalypse crisis, which literary character would you want beside you?
Sam and Hailey from Only Revolutions. I’m not sure that we would be especially protected from zombies, but if we’re going down in a blaze of glory (and possibly reincarnating after) at least we can party hard and eat some honey on our way out.
If you weren’t an author what would you be?
Much to my frustration, my attempts at making myself useful at a desk job failed. Waiting tables was fascinating for a time—concrete in much the same way writing is. But I’m afraid being an author has ruined me for other jobs. It’s this or nothing.