1. What’s your favorite song to dance to?
I’m on maternity leave with my seven-week-old baby right now, so I spend a lot of my time holding and rocking and soothing her. I discovered by accident that she calms down when I dance her around to “Hey Larocco” by Rayland Baxter, so that’s our current jam.
2. Describe your personal hell.
I’m in a small, windowless room. It’s cold and I have no blankets or extra clothes to put on. My eyes hurt. I’m thirsty. I have a UTI and a nasty cold. I’m exhausted but can’t sleep. And I know my situation will never improve and I will never die.
3. What’s something that always makes you laugh?
When my husband texts this to me a propos of nothing, which he’s been doing for years and years. It’s from a Mitchell & Webb show, another thing that always makes me laugh.
4. You’re sucked into a bad movie and you have to choose a point in history to live out the rest of your years. What time do you choose and why?
This is hard because all eras suck in one way or another. I guess I’d go to the ’70s so I could see The Ramones in their prime? I don’t know. This is why I don’t write historical fiction.
5. What’s a gif that you can relate to?
6. You’re hit by lightning. What happens?
I pass out, hopefully survive, and wake up with a cool scar.
7. It’s snowing outside, how do you feel?
Excited and unprepared, putting on tights under jeans and all the sweaters I own because I’m from California and don’t know what I’m doing. I love sledding and stuff, but I see snow maybe once every few years and I’m usually over it and want to go inside after like 20 minutes.
8. What’s a cat picture you can get behind?
Pictures of my own cats, Iggy the tuxedo daredevil and Katla the calico empath.
9. Where did you write most of your book? Why?
I do the vast majority of my writing in coffee shops, and this book was no different. I need the ambient noise because I find silence distracting, and I need to be away from home so I’m not tempted to procrastinate with dishes or laundry. Coldwater Canyon was written in various coffee shops in North Hollywood and Los Feliz.
10. What are your struggles and strengths as a writer?
I struggle with plot. It’s really difficult for me to decide what will “happen” and how to work out all the logistics. My strengths are mood-setting and resonant imagery. That’s the part that flows naturally and doesn’t feel like work, even when I’m rewriting the same sentence twenty times.
11. Tell us a little about your writing process. What works, what doesn’t, what doesn’t but you still try anyway
Each project is a little different, but I always have to get pretty far into something, even all the way through a draft, before I figure out what I’m getting at and what I want to say. That’s when I can go back and start over with intention and awareness of where I’m going. I’ve tried writing by hand but I just can’t, as much as I see the value in it. My hand cramps up and my writing is illegible. But when I finish a draft, I always print it out and make notes on the page as I read through it. Having the physical object to refer to is crucial for me to be able to wrap my head around the whole.
ANNE-MARIE KINNEY is the author of two novels, Radio Iris (2012, Two Dollar Radio) and Coldwater Canyon(forthcoming from CCM in 2018). A New York Times Editor’s Choice pick, Radio Iris was called “a spiky debut” and “‘The Office’ as scripted by Kafka” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Her shorter work has been published in journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, The Rattling Wall, The Collagist, Fanzine and Black Clock, for which she also served as Production Editor from 2011-2016. She lives in Los Angeles, where she co-curates the Griffith Park Storytelling Series.