I want to thank Zoe for taking the time to answer my questions. Read more about her here!
What was the first story you remember writing about?
When I was in fifth grade I wrote most of a novel that was a mash-up of the Boxcar Children, Narnia, and My Side of the Mountain. It was about kids who have to live alone in the woods, where they carve into a huge old tree for their shelter and eventually discover a magical clearing. My first story as an adult writer was more or less about my parents’ divorce.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
My childhood ambition was to be a movie star or teacher or maybe both. Later, in college, when pressed to answer this question, I said I wanted to be an editor at a cool magazine. The truth is I thought more about what I wanted to do, which was travel, see bands, and have adventures.
Do you think writing is innate, a taught skill, or both? Why?
I think it’s an inclination that needs much practice to become a skill. I learned more about writing from self-study and reading than from any particular teacher, but that without some conscious attempt at becoming better at it, my progress would have been limited.
What was your least favorite class at any point in your education? Why?
In junior high, I had an astrology class taught by a nearly senile man who never made eye contact, just stood at the board with his back to us writing in a frail, unreadable hand and muttering. But in general, math classes of any kind were the ones that made me most sleepy eyed.
Are you reading anything right now?
Almost finished with Memory Walls by Anthony Doer, which I read on recommendation after asking for suggestions on books set in the near future. I have Elena Ferrante’s book My Brilliant Friend on hold at the library, which will probably be next. That or A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I read mostly one book at a time.
Are you writing anything right now?
I’m working on a couple essays and taking notes towards a new novel. If I’m going to get serious about the novel, I’ll have to put the essay writing aside, but I’m not ready for that quite yet.