‘I can say what I want to say.’ Nell Zink

‘I can say what I want to say.’ Nell Zink

I sent The Wallcreeper to a small publishing company in Missouri. They gave me $300 for the manuscript. I’d been trying to write something to make some money but $300 wouldn’t allow that.

I spent about 15 years just writing for a friend. I was used to getting very inflated compliments and merrily going my own way so I could skip this humiliating public audience thing and get to the readers.

It felt like The New York Times was my PR department! The Wallcreeper did have negative reviews but people just expose themselves as idiots – you could not write a bad review of The Wallcreeper without looking stupid. It was a win-win situation!

The book is as smart as I am. Maybe by the standard of other writers, I’m relatively intelligent!

Twenty years ago, I was hanging around with post-punks from Chicago. I don’t think we said anything we meant.

It’s not Mao’s Little Red Book! It’s voluntary: I take great joy in that I can say what I want. The author has the last word.

I worked as a translator for a while to get money into my account. Then I could write for a while. But I never knew when [the next job was coming] so I was always really rushing!

I would write for ten hours a day for three weeks. It was like a tick! That’s when I’d run out of energy and have to take a little break. Now I’m a professional novelist I have an excuse to tinker and tinker.

I never went to ‘author school’. It’s on-the-go training.

Apparently you can get people to read a lot of environmentalism if you keep the sex coming!

In America there’s such an emphasis on marriage. They really believe they’ll find the perfect person and it’ll be sublime. They expect red-hot sex for the next 40 years with the exact same person… it’s weird, pseudo-psychological propaganda!

If I have a readership, I can say what I want to say. I don’t have to candy-coat it.

I only started reading contemporary books about a year-and-a-half ago. I wanted a sense of the competition… and it’s very encouraging!

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