When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an artist who painted roses and a cheerleader. Turns out, I’m terrible at drawing and not remotely athletic, so I found my way to books.
What do you do aside from writing?
I’m an adult nonfiction book editor at Penguin Books, where I have the privilege of working with amazing creators and writers, not to mention colleagues who love to talk books. Who needs to be a rose-painting
cheerleader when you get to be around books?
What do you do when you’re not writing or editing?
I like to walk around New York City, check out street art, read books, go to movies with my friends, and occasionally partake in Crossfit.
What are your favorite books and who are your favorite authors?
The first book I remember adoring as a kid was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It made me laugh, because it was weird and funny and on my side as a kid. Soon after that came Harriet the Spy--I remember being amazed at how honest and terrible Harriet was, and despite all that, I still rooted for her. Discovering Anne of Green Gables was like falling in love--here was this amazing character on the page who had wonderful friends and wanted to be a writer. I loved that.
Other favorites over the years include 100 Years of Solitude, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, Beloved, Where the Wild Things Are, and the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop.
There's also a group of writers whose words I love so much, I will happily and unreservedly knock down doors and walk through walls to get my hands on whatever they write next: Charles Baxter, V. E. Schwab, Kathleen Glasgow, Rainbow Rowell, Toni Adeyemi, Holly Black, Heidi Heilig, Tana French, and Lorrie Moore.
What is your writing process like?
I think of each book as a road trip. I know where I want to start, I know where I want to end up, but until I start the drive, I'm not sure how I'm going to get there. I might take side trips that aren't useful, or find a shortcut that gets me closer than I expected. Sometimes I like to map out my route; other times, I like to see where the road leads me.
I do most of my writing in a coffee shop. I like that ritual--my brain knows that when I sit down there with a hot chocolate and toast, it's time to write.
How can I get a review copy of one of your novels?
Please reach out to my publicist, Jodie Hockensmith, at Jodie.Hockensmith@simonandschuster.com
Can you help me get a job in publishing?
Unfortunately, I can't, but I encourage you to look for internships at publishing companies and literary agencies. You may also want to check out volunteering at literary festivals or applying for a job at a local bookstore. All of those things are great ways to get your foot in the door.
Cats or dogs?
Cats, but I like waving hi to dogs. I have a very terribly behaved cat named Rigs, after Friday Night Light’s Tim Riggins. He is not a fan of laptops, as he prefers to be the only object on my lap.
Morning bird or night owl?
Who would invite to your dream dinner party?
Jane Austen, Taylor Kitsch, Amy Poehler, Beyonce, Nick Offerman, and my niece and nephew. I think that would be some excellent company. We would have Skyline Chili, some perfect heirloom tomatoes with sea salt and olive oil, and Grammy pizza from Emily Hearts Pizza in the West Village. For dessert: Graeter's Ice Cream.