Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Cynthia Leitich Smith

b3abdd0ea2f9f2e7928a2e6861f05b12Get to know Cynthia…

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author the Feral series, which includes Feral Nights and Feral Curse, as well as the Tantalize series, which includes Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed, Diabolical. Two graphic novels, Tantalize: Kieren’s Story and Eternal: Zachary’s Story, complete the Tantalize series.

These adventure-fantasies are published by Candlewick Press in the U.S., Walker Books in the U.K. and Australia/New Zealand, and additional publishers around the globe.

Cynthia’s website was named one of the top 10 Writer Sites on the Internet by Writer’s Digest and an ALA Great Website for Kids. Her Cynsations blog at was listed as among the top two read by the children’s/YA publishing community in the SCBWI “To Market” column.

Quirky Questions

Would you rather endure a zombie apocalypse or World War III?

Zombie apocalypse, providing that I remain human and uneaten. I’m already up on the mythology, halfway to a cure, and have a bow ready to go.

Would you rather be able to speak with all animals or all foreign languages?

All animals because, for humans, I could always find a translator.

Would you rather be the richest person alive or immortal?

Immortal, but only if I were reasonably healthy. Infinity would give me plenty of time to save money.

Would you rather live in a retirement home or a mental institution?

Retirement home. I have a great respect for elders and adored my grandparents and great aunties.

Would you rather always be underdressed or overdressed?

I am always at least slightly overdressed. That woman in kitten heels at the grocery store? That’s me. But I would’ve answered differently two years ago.

Would you rather have a rewind button for your life or a pause button?

Rewind. I have a few regrets that haunt, especially from my teens and twenties. Then again, that may be the whole point of one’s tweens and twenties. Besides, I actually do get to unwind…through fiction…from a certain point of view.

Would you rather have the ability to read minds or teleport?

Teleport. I like a little mystery in my life and hate to fly commercial.

Would you rather have unicorns be real or mermaids?

Unicorns! I recently rediscovered a scrimshaw ring of a unicorn in my jewelry box. I bought it in Colorado when I was a tween and am delighted that it fits.

Feral Nights FinalWriting Questions

What made you decide to follow a creative career choice (though possibly risky) rather than something more stable?

I quit my day job after the Oklahoma City Bombing. I was working in a federal office in Chicago that day. I have close ties to OKC, and it was my life-is-short wake-up call. Better to live and fail big than spend your life dreaming of a “someday” that never comes.

In terms of your writing, how would you like to be remembered?

I’d like to be remembered as the author of my first book, Jingle Dancer. It was published fourteen years ago, which frankly, takes a lot of pressure off. Legacy? Check!

Do you ever create hidden meanings or messages in your work?

Sometimes I’ll nod to a previous story. In the Tantalize-Feral universe, I incorporated a fictional costume shop called “All the World’s a Stage,” which was previously the setting for a realistic YA short story, “A Real Live Blond Cherokee and His Equally Annoyed Soul Mate.”

What else? I hosted an informal private workshop at my home for fellow Austin writers back in 2005. The word “kumquat” kept coming up in the manuscripts, and ever since, you can occasionally spot “kumquat” in an Austinite’s book that might not have appeared there otherwise.

Do you pay attention to strong reactions to your work? Does that affect your creativity?

I’m especially open to YA reader suggestions and sometimes apply them to future books. The Feral series grew in part out of fan mail about a quirky secondary character named Clyde.

What kind of jobs did you have before your career took off?

I’ve had tons of jobs—popcorn popper at a movie theater, waitress, switchboard operator, receptionist, newspaper reporter, PR coordinator, law clerk.

If you could interview any author (past or present), who would you choose?

Abraham Stoker.

If you could choose a theme song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“Xanadu” by Olivia Newton John. 


Interview with Award-Winning Author Betsy Franco

unnamed (1)Get to know Betsy…

Betsy Franco has written over eighty books.  She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the New York Library Notable Book Award and the ALA Best Book award for Young Adults.  She adapted her YA novel METAMORPHOSIS, JUNIOR YEAR into a successful play.  NAKED, her debut adult novel and YA cross over, has been described as “The Time Traveler’s Wife meets Midnight in Paris.”  Publisher’s Weekly called it “a seamless blend of fiction, biography, and contemporary culture.” Betsy also acts and directs short films. For more info, visit her website.

Quirky Questions 

What is the most vivid or realistic dream you’ve ever had?

In New Mexico, which felt like a very spiritual place to me, I dreamed about having dinner with my late father and felt like I’d actually spent time with him.  He was a gentle, very funny, creative, generous person, so the dream was very memorable. 

If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which show would you choose?

I’d like to hang out with the people in Girls, but only for a day, not a month, because I have too much to write, film, and act in. 

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen?

This isn’t the strangest, but it’s the cutest.  My cat Frida sits for hours by the holes that moles create in my backyard, waiting for a tuft of dirt to fly up.  

What’s your motto in life?

I spent many decades as a pessimist.  As an experiment, I shifted to optimism and I felt a lot better.  From then forward, I decided to frame things positively no matter what.  

What song best describes your work ethic?

I have a slightly different take on this question.  When writing a novel, a song often comes to me that embodies the texture of the novel.  It also helps me reenter the world of the novel if I’ve taken a break from it. 

If you were to attend a costume party, who would you be?

I’d be a teenage boy because I seem to have a teenage boy living inside me.  Always have.  But I’m not gender confused.

If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be? And why?

I would eliminate stress and worry. It’s a waste of time.

unnamedWriting Questions

If you had to start over, would you choose a different path in your career?

(different take on this question) I keep changing course all the time.  I started writing children’s books.  When one of my editors challenged me to write novels, I took her up on it.  The local theatre asked me to write a play based on my novel, METAMORPHOSIS, JUNIOR YEAR, and I’ve been writing plays for them ever since.  My sons inspired me to take acting classes, which has enriched my writing and allowed me to take roles on TV and in film.  When the idea of my novel NAKED came to me I wrote in the way it needed to be written and it turned out to be my debut adult novel, with a YA cross over. It’s fun to explore new avenues–I’m directing a short film right now.  Learning curves can be challenging but they make me feel alive.

Has rejection ever affected your desire to continue writing?

I believe the ability to handle rejection is one of the requisite skills of any artist. I thought NAKED would be snatched up.  I had a troubled, talented Stanford student meet Camille Claudel, Rodin’s muse and fellow sculptor, in the Rodin Sculpture Garden at Stanford, after she emerges from one of the statues she inspired in order to heal her past life.  I received lovely rejections but it took much longer than I anticipated.  Now I see that I was waiting for Tyrus Books to publish it.  The editor and publisher there understood my novel on a deep level.

What kind of jobs did you have before your career took off?

I worked in educational publishing, first in house and then freelance, writing fun, motivational supplementary books.  It was a great way to write all the time and get paid for it.  In the early mornings, I would work on my own children’s books.

What do you do to get into your writing zone?

I think about the fact that I need to make a living and this is the way I want to do it.  Then I write no matter what mood I’m in.  I learned long ago to ask the universe for help so I don’t have to do it alone.  Then I give the universe credit when something sells.  It helps me stay inspired and keeps ego in check.

What is your favorite accomplishment?

My favorite accomplishment is working with my creative sons.  James shot a documentary of the making of my play, METAMORPHOSIS, JUNIOR YEAR.  He also included me in his film Broken Tower and on General Hospital and asked me to produce a film with teen filmmakers based on his poetry.  Davy gave me feedback on my screenplay of NAKED and has roles for me in his videos.  Tom is currently doing presentations with me about NAKED.  I’m having a wonderful time with my talented, eloquent, visionary artist son who did the cover and interior drawings in NAKED.

Do you ever create hidden meanings or messages in your work?

I never know what I’m really writing about until several years into it.  I’m always dealing with issues that I’m not aware I’m grappling with.  It’s a strange process.  I grow a lot from writing novels.

Do you pay attention to others’ strong reactions to your work? Does that affect what you create?

My anthologies written by teens, YOU HEAR ME? and THINGS I HAVE TO TELL YOU, have been banned.  I know I’m a rebel at heart and like to push the envelope so I’m going to get strong reactions.  I’m not inherently thick skinned so I’ve had to learn to deal with it.  I just remember my vision and the fact that I have to write what I have to write.

If your writing were edible, what would it taste like?

It would taste like a sushi called Arctic Char (Iwana).  It’s sweet and sour and makes you laugh and emit sounds when you eat it.

If you could change one aspect of our society through your work, what would it be?

I would like adults and teens not to ever have to feel alone in their feelings.

What made you decide to follow a creative career choice (though possibly risky) rather than something more stable?

I had to.  I feel antsy, dulled down, not as purposeful if I’m not creative.  When I was younger, I actually felt as if I would go crazy if I didn’t create.

In terms of your writing, how would you like to be remembered?

I hope I’ve inspired others in some way to express themselves.  I’d also like to be remembered as the mother of three creative, fearless artists.

How has personal experience influenced your writing?

I think all books are autobiographies of the author, emotionally, if not factually.


Author Interview with Victoria Bond & T.R. Simon

zora-and-me-0763643009-lGet to know Victoria and T.R. SIMON…

Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon are the co-athors of the award winning chidren’s novel Zora and Me. Winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent and nominated for an Edgar. Zora and Me was also a Junior Library Guild Selection, ABC 2010 New Voices Selection, SIBA 2010 Okra Award Winner, Fall 2010 Indie Next Top Ten Pick, The New York Public Library 2010 list of 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, a World Book Night pick, and Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award. Their work has been featured in USA Today, Essence Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, Seattle Examiner. Their radio interviews have appeared on WBUR Here & Now, BBC, and WNYC The Takeaway. They are currently at work on the second volume of Zora and Me.  For more information please visit their website.

Quirky Questions 

What song best describes your work ethic?

VB: Jeff Buckley’s “Last Goodbye.”  Whenever I’m working on something the thing that thrills me most about the process is the process being over. 

TS: Dinah Washington’s “You Got What It Takes.” I guess I’m a collaborator at heart. 

Have you been told you look like someone famous?

VB: Yes and they all look different.  From Veronica Webb to Sandra Bullock to the actress that plays the protagonist’s sister on Sleepy Hollow, who I think I may actually look like. 

TS: No one, although everyone tells me I look like a relative they have. 

If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be?  

VB: A winged skull because I think of myself that way: mortality in flight.  Crazy, I know, but true. 

TS: Something horribly clichéd like a jumping dolphin. This is why I would never get a tattoo! 

SONY DSCWriting Questions

How do you deal with creativity blocks?

VB: I deal with blocks by continuing to write, usually pretty badly.  Though during periods when I’m not writing every day, or at least 5-6 days a week, I make visual art.  So when the writing muse sleeps in me, another muse wakes up, which is nice.

TS: I’m with Vicky. I just keep churning out crap until something decent shows up again.

Can you visualize a finished product before you begin a book?  

VB: Yes and no.  I think I have faith that the book will get done, so in that way I can see a manuscript, but I don’t necessarily see it on a bookshelf with all the bells and whistles that end up going into a work that makes it to the marketplace.

TS: Yes, I’m very goal oriented and I never work on something for which I have not already mapped the end.

Do you feel that you chose your passion, or did it choose you? 

VB: Writing chose me; I chose it back and now we’re in a painful marriage with a lot of bad periods.  But there’s also the romance and the joy and the fun of being in love.

TS: I’m passionate about expressing my opinions, so in that sense writing is true to who I am.

Is there a particular place where you feel most creative? 

VS: Outside in the sun.

TS: I need a cozy nook, somewhere safe and private. I’m a bit like a bear and I need a good den to hibernate in.

Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit? 

VB: Having a writing partner and a contract helps with keeping my head in the game.  But it’s also the person in the mirror that keeps me bound up with the writing life.  There is a piece of me it would be hell to disappoint, that it is hell to disappoint, and that’s my artist self, who with each passing year it seems keeps edging out other aspects of my personality.

TS: I don’t really believe in the concept of quitting. Everything is always in process, sometimes that process seems more productive than others. When I look at things that way, I don’t really worry about quitting, I worry more about being present.

If you were no longer able to write, how else would you express your creativity? 

VB: I would make a go at making more visual art and probably begin to take more seriously a lot of the ideas I have for conceptual pieces.

TS: If I can think and talk then I can write.

What has been your greatest sacrifice that has enabled you to become the author you are today? 

VB: Being ridden, overwhelmed and run by self-doubt that puts my self-esteem on the chopping block every day.

TS: I think the person who has sacrificed the most is my husband. He’s always there for me and almost never loses patience when I’m cranky, self-doubting, or full of wacky story ideas right before bed.

What words of inspiration were given to you that you would like to pass along to others?

VB: Write the books you want to read.

TS: Amen.

If you knew that you had only one last opportunity to express yourself creatively, what message would you want to convey to others?

VB: Live until you die.

TS: Don’t be so afraid. Life is one long, glorious series of failures and mistakes and funnily enough it’s what makes the trip grand.

When did you realize that you had a gift?

VB: I don’t think I have a gift because I have to work too hard.  My creative life feels more like a determination than anything else.

TS: Again, I’m suspect of terms like “gift.” Everyone is gifted, some folks just show it off more publicly than others.

How do you balance your personal life and your creative endeavors?

VB: I haven’t really.  I have a job and then I create stuff.  And as a result, my “personal life” seesaws between being painfully boring or just painful.

TS: It’s hard. I have a young daughter and she’s very much our priority, so the rest of life has to fit around her.

What is your typical day like?

VB: On a day that I’m writing, I wake up around 7, run for about an hour, write and then finish up about 5.  On a day that I’m teaching, I wake up at 5:30, leave for work by 7 and am usually home around 7.

TS: Much the same. I work from home so there’s never enough time to get everything done.

How much of your own life is reflected in your work?

VB: When I first started writing a lot of my own life was.  In fact, I think it was too much and it was detriment to me being able to work and solve problems.  Now, how I see the world and people is there in my fiction, but the circumstantial baggage of my life is gone, which is a welcomed change.

TS: The wisdom I’ve gained and emotional experiences I’ve had are in my writing, but not the details of my life.

Do you have family members who like to write too?

VB: No.

TS: Yes, my husband. He has an actual MFA in writing.

What was your childhood like? Did your upbringing influence the way you write today?

VB: I spent a lot of time alone in my own head.  Also, my best friends when I was a kid were all old people who now for the most part are dead.  For this reason I have always been simultaneously aware of how long and short life is.  As a creative person now, I feel like I have time to make the work I want, but I know that this time will not last forever.

TS: I was a solitary child, so books were a big part of my emotional life. I guess you could say I like to write about bookish protagonists.

How do you think you differ from other creative people in your genre?

VB: Instead of being different I hope our book represents the best of the genre.

TS: I wouldn’t begin to know how to compare our work to others. Everyone has their own unique voice.

Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured? If so, in what ways?

VB: I no longer have any interest in writing fiction that’s remotely based on anything from my real life.

TS: I’m more patient with myself and my process.

When do you feel the most energized?

VB: After I take 2-3 caffeine pills.

TS: Lol. I prefer green tea.

Does your writing reflect your personality?

VB: I’m pensive and I like to think of myself as funny, so I hope those two pieces of me come through.

TS: I believe deeply in the capacity for people to care for one another, and I like to think our book reflects that hopefulness on my part.


Author Interview with Nikki Loftin

NightingalesNest_CatalogGet to know Nikki…

Nikki Loftin is the debut author of THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY (Razorbill, 2012), which Publishers Weekly called “a mesmerizing read,” and Kirkus Reviews called “deliciously scary and satisfying.”

Nikki’s short children’s fiction has appeared in Boy’s Life and Pockets magazines, among others. She also writes literary fiction, poetry, and essays for adults, and has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. Her essay is included in the anthology, Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (Zest books, Nov. 2012). Nikki is represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary Agency.

Nikki enjoys public speaking, and served as keynote speaker at the Houston Writer’s Guild conference in the spring of 2012, as well as a presenter at libraries, SCBWI conferences and meetings, and various panels and workshops throughout the year. She is an active member of the Austin SCBWI, the Writer’s League of Texas, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), and the Junior League of Austin.

A native Texan, she lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband (a Scottish photographer), two sons, and an assortment of dogs and chickens. 

Nikki attended the University of Texas at Austin for both her BA (French, ‘92), and MA (English – Fiction Writing, ’98). She speaks conversational French and limited Spanish, and has spent most of her professional life working with children and young adults. After teaching in the New Braunfels Independent School District as a Music and Gifted and Talented teacher, she pursued a career as a Director of Family Ministries at Presbyterian churches.

Currently, Nikki writes full-time, although she also teaches Zumba dance/aerobics in an attempt to combat the ever-threatening Writer’s Butt. She volunteers with students at local schools with the Reading is Fundamental program, and at her own children’s schools in the classrooms and libraries. When under extreme stress, or on submission with a novel, she bakes obsessively as a coping technique. Her favorite food is ice cream, preferably Blue Bell Moo-llenium Crunch. For more info, visit her home on the web.

Quirky Questions

Describe your ideal day.

I like this question. It makes me daydream, and that’s one of my favorite parts of my job. I think an ideal day would start with sending my kids off to school, relaxing with a cup of hot tea, sleepy warm dogs at my feet, re-reading the five thousand inspired words I’d written the day before, then having one of those bursts of inspiration that makes my fingers fly to the keyboard. I’d look up a few minutes – hours? years? – later and see I’d reached my word count for the week. Then I’d go play the guitar for a while, feed my goats a snack, have a late lunch with one of my writing friends, take a walk, and settle in for a quiet night at home with my boys. I guess I’m pretty tame. I’m a homebody!

What’s the naughtiest thing you did in school?

Well, I had one teacher who didn’t like me. I can’t imagine why not! I was a perfectly well-behaved child, never causing a bit of trouble. In second grade, she called me up to the front of the class and shook my paper in my face, and yelled “Nikki Loftin! This is the messiest handwriting I have ever seen in my life! It’s terrible! What do you have to say about that?”

So I looked down at the papers on her desk, and calmly replied, “Well, yours ain’t so hot either.” She sent me to the front of the room with my nose in a circle on the chalkboard until I apologized. Which I would not. Finally, I ended up in the principal’s office—just fine with me, as she was one of my mother’s best friends. We had a chat, I agreed to apologize as long as everyone understood I didn’t mean it. And that was that. (That teacher was the inspiration for Mrs. Morrigan in my debut novel, by the way. Scariest woman I ever met.)

Who was your favorite teacher?

Oh, I have so many! With the exception of the teacher I mentioned above, I pretty much won the Teacher Lottery every year of my life. So many amazing ones: Aunt Trudy Lester, Linda Herrington, Elizabeth McGonigal, Linda Bolding, Marcia Hilsabeck… They all changed me, formed me, in fundamental ways.

I did something in my latest novel to say thank you to them in a small way for making such an amazing difference in my life. I gave the characters in Nightingale’s Nest the names of the very best teachers my children or I have known. I think great teachers don’t hear thank you often enough. I didn’t want another year to go by without showing these women and men that their work changed my world, and I will never forget them.

What is your earliest childhood memory?

I was reading, I think, in a playhouse near where I lived until I was four. I loved to read, and I can’t remember a time I couldn’t.  Books have been my life for a long time.

What food item would you remove from the market altogether?

 Hot dogs. Just… ick.

NIKKIWriting Questions

What books are you reading right now?

I just finished Neil Gaiman’s excellent The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Magical and mysterious and frightening… his masterful storytelling always makes me want to be a better writer! I also read Anne Ursu’s The Real Boy, which I adored. It was one of those books I absolutely could not put down. Magic again, and heartbreak, and a strange, wonderful twist at the end.

Name someone who supported your writing journey outside of family members.

Cynthia Leitich Smith, who has helped so many others in the writing community, gave me advice, a shoulder to cry on, and more when I poked my nose into the Austin writing scene! In addition to being a phenomenally talented author, Cyn is wise, kind, knowledgeable, generous, funny – pretty much my role model in the writing world! I feel very lucky to call her my friend.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

This is scary.

No. Not one thing. I say it’s scary because this means that Nightingale’s Nest is exactly as I want it – which is to say, as close to my vision as I can possibly make it – and so, if readers dislike it, I’m afraid it will hurt more.

I know, of course, that no book is written for every reader. I wrote this one for myself, when I was ten or so. Some reader out there will be like I was then, I think, and I hope she or he will find this book, and read it, and hear what I am trying to say to him or her.

 What’s your favorite writing quote?

It’s not a writing quote, exactly. It’s a poem, my favorite, from Mary Oliver. I’ll give you the last lines from “The Summer Day:” 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?



Interview with Bestselling Author Chris Rylander

816Gn4p6jyLGet to know Chris…

Chris Rylander is the author of the acclaimed and bestselling Fourth Stall trilogy and Codename Zero.  He is a fan of wizards, small trees and talking hats.  He was born and raised in North Dakota , and currently lives in Chicago with his wife and dog. For more info, visit his website.

Quirky Questions

Would you rather be able to speak with all animals or all foreign languages?

Definitely all foreign languages.  Part of the fun of animals is wondering what they’re thinking.  Plus, I don’t think they’d offer very interesting conversations aside from talk about food and sleeping.

Would you rather have a free Starbucks for a year or free iTunes forever?

Free iTunes forever, easily.  I love music.

Would you rather be considered a total oddball to everyone you meet or be considered completely average with nothing particularly interesting about you?

The former is already true!  I think oddities are what make life interesting.  I myself gravitate toward strange people/senses of humor.

Harry Potter or Twilight? Or neither?

Harry Potter.  Might be the easiest question I’ve ever been asked.  That series is truly remarkable.  What it did for kids, and books, and writers, and the industry in general can’t be overstated.

Would you rather have the ability to read minds or teleport?

Teleport, I don’t think I’d want to know what people are really thinking.  Plus, I love to travel.

Would you rather have unicorns be real or mermaids?

Unicorns are real.

coverWriting Questions

What made you decide to follow a creative career choice (though possibly risky) rather than something more stable?

You don’t have to choose.  The fact is, I think it’s somewhat irresponsible to go “all in” on writing, especially if you have a family or any dependents.  Because you can do both.  I had a day job for the first five or six years of my writing career.  And in fact many published writers are never able to quit their day jobs.  It’s a sobering reality, but it is the reality.  You have to sell a lot of books to make a living as a writer and that’s not easy to do for most of us.  I consider myself extremely lucky that I was eventually able to quit my day job.  I always viewed writing as something I do for fun, and I never, ever, ever expected to end up making a living doing it.

In terms of your writing, how would you like to be remembered?

I think it’s detrimental to writing to think about it in this way.  I think it’s better to simply focus on what you want to be writing in the moment.

How has personal experience influenced your writing?

A ton.  In fact, it’s everything.  And not even just what I experience first hand.  Scenes from movies and books and song lyrics and stories people tell me, all of these things make up a great portion of what I’m inspired to write.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?

This may sound canned, but it’s to only write stories that interest and motivate me!  If I get bored with an idea, then I toss it aside.  Writing should always be fun.

What is your favorite accomplishment?

Just the simple fact that this is my only job.  It’s hard to ask for anything more than that.  I wake up every day appreciating my reality.

Do you ever create hidden meanings or messages in your work?

I try not to.  But I do love to hide references to my favorite music, sports, movies and books in my writing.  My books are packed with references to my favorite things.

Do you pay attention to others’ strong reactions to your work? Does that affect what you create?

I pay attention only out of curiosity.  Reader reactions rarely affect me in any way.  I can take negative responses better than most writers, I think.  It’s hard to say why that is.  But it’s kind of nice, since I don’t have to avoid reviews the way a lot of writers do.

If your writing were edible, what would it taste like?

Blueberry jam.  Also my writing is edible.  I always encourage literal consumption of my books.

Has rejection ever affected your desire to continue writing?

Never.  Never even close.  If rejection made me want to quit, then I wouldn’t be writing for the right reasons.

What kind of jobs did you have before your career took off?

Video stores, Burger King, Barnes & Noble, movie theaters, bank call center, Medicare administration, gun for hire, dragon slayer.  My favorite jobs were Barnes and Noble and video stores since I was surrounded by things I love all day.

What was the biggest opposing force that you encountered on your writing journey?

Getting published is really hard.  Luckily, I found it kind of fun to query agents and that sort of stuff.  I liked that process, oddly enough.  And I have hundreds of rejections.

If you could interview any author (past or present), who would you choose?

George Saunders is incredible.  So is Flannery O’Connor.

If you could choose a theme song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Probably a dubious line of trombone blats.

Chris Rylander - Author Photo