About Carly Anne West
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. I've been a waitress, retail clerk, tutor and community college teacher. I've worked for a newspaper, in the music industry and in the financial district in San Francisco. I've worked for a small publisher and spent unpaid intern hours on a mobile broadcasting truck. I've seen a few jobs in my day.
Q. Favorite job
A. Writing, of course! Anything involving writing. I also very much loved tutoring and the collaborative aspects of teaching (grading, not so much).
Q. High school and/or college
A. I went to Deer Valley High School in Glendale, Arizona, Arizona State University for my undergrad, and Mills College in Oakland, CA for my graduate degree.
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. I just can't choose favorites!! I'd have to say, though, Paul Simon is a genius. He writes phenomenal stories and sets them to beautiful music.
Q. Favorite movie
A. Again with the favorites! Two movies I will always and forever love: The Shining and The Princess Bride. This may be the only time you'll ever see those two movies listed in the same context.
Q. Favorite television show
A. Soooooo many to choose from. My current favorite is probably The Walking Dead, but I'm a sucker for Project Runway, too. Never mind I can barely stitch a button to a shirt.
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. Exactly how I'd hoped it'd be: never dull
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. The day I stop learning is the day I throw in the towel.
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Honestly, my weekends rock. I love reconnecting with my family over the breakfast table, sipping some of that famous Seattle coffee and watching my toddler bang away on his high chair as we plan out our day. That's happiness right there.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. For some reason, I have a real phobia about rolling down a hill backward in a car. No idea where that came from, but it made driving in San Francisco a challenge.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. In front of a fireplace reading!
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. From recent history, probably my grandma.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. I'm proud to say the people I admire most in life are those closest to me - my husband, my son, my family, my friends.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. I say "Like" and "You Know" far too often. I'm from the valley.
Q. What do you regret most?
A. I'm not really a "regret" kind of person, but I do hope to travel internationally, and I hope to do a lot of it! It's something I really feel like I'm missing.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. For someone whose mom is an artist, I can't draw a straight line. I'd love to learn to draw or paint.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Corny as it sounds, I'm really proud of my little family unit. Oh, and publishing a book is tops on the list, too!
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. There are a lot to choose from, and that's not false modesty speaking. I am supremely stubborn, and sometimes it takes me too long to really listen.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. I'm a pretty compassionate gal.
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Sometimes I watch my cats and think they've got it all figured out.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I'm not the only person in the world to wear glasses, and certainly not the only writer, but I'm, like, always wearing them. I tried contact lenses once and hated them. So I do everything in glasses. I once ran a marathon in glasses. It wasn't pretty, but at least I could see.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. I love it when the line between hero and villain, good and bad, and evil and what-the? is blurry. The fawn from Pan's Labyrinth is a perfect example. I was suspicious until the end, and even then I wasn't quite sure. I love that!
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. I guess that's the same answer as my favorite hero!
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. I suppose I'd love to meet Holden Caulfield, and I'd tell him it gets better, and that what he's feeling isn't imagined.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. I could care less what your age, gender, occupation or whatever is in life ... just hold the door open for the person behind you. It's polite.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. I love to read (of course), and I love movies. And eating. And traveling.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. I sometimes dream I'm a librarian. I love the smell of a library.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. I think I'd have to say integrity, compassion, and a sense of humor.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. I like to say that I could eat nachos until the cows came home. And when they came home, I'd feed the cows nachos.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Oh, yeah, I can't narrow it down to five. Why don't I pick 5 artists instead? Anything by Paul Simon, Radiohead, Jack White, Ryan Adams, The Killers, Cyndi Lauper, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Flaming Lips ... Whoops! More than 5!
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. So many!! Lorrie Moore, Michael Chabon, Yiyun Li, Victor LaValle, Nina LaCour, Bernard Malamud, Kathryn Reiss, Mary Karr, Tobias Wolff, Charlotte Bronte, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King ... I could go on and on.
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Impossible. That's an impossible question. I'm going to list some, but this is by no means a definitive list!CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, JANE EYRE, ANAGRAMS, THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION, THE LIARS' CLUB, THIS BOY'S LIFE, THE SHINING, THE FIXER.
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. Lorrie Moore's short story collection BIRDS OF AMERICA. I could return to that time and again. And anything by Edgar Allan Poe.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. A mentor of mine, Victor LaValle, once said "Write like they don't understand your genius." That feels more powerful every day.
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. "Your first book is a horror novel? But you seem so ... normal."