Interview: Erin Entrada Kelly, YA Author

ErinEntradaKellyErin Entrada Kelly is the author of SONGS FROM THE D-LIST, forthcoming from HarperCollins’ Greenwillow Books. She is also an extensively published short story writer and has appeared in such journals as Keyhole, Monkeybicycle and Stupefying Stories. She was short-listed for the national Eric Hoffer Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Philippines Free Press Literary Award for Short Fiction. Kelly was raised in south Louisiana, but now lives in suburban Philadelphia. 

Other nerdy things she loves, in addition to books: Tudor history, horror movies, musicals, and the Twilight Zone.

Follow Erin on her website.

Let’s see how Erin answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
Laughing with my daughter. Luckily she’s just as weird as I am.

Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to sing well! Not being able to sing doesn’t stop me, but it sure would be nice to sound angelic while I’m doing it. In my imaginary world I sound just like Karen Carpenter.

Wheat field with View of Arles by Vincent van Gogh (1888)

Wheat field with View of Arles by Vincent van Gogh (1888)

Your favorite painting?
The Wheat Fields series by Van Gogh. I love Van Gogh. I could ramble on for days about Van Gogh, Wheat Fields and much of his other work, and his letters and diaries. But then your eyes would glaze over. So I won’t.

On what occasion do you lie?
To flow with the social graces we have all imposed upon ourselves. Like if I’m having a crappy day and someone asks how I’m doing. I’m going to say ‘fine,’ but what I’m really thinking is ‘This day sucks and if you ask me another question I’m going to pummel you.’ Although I’ve never really pummeled anyone, so that would be another lie.

What is your present state of mind?

What is your motto?
There’s an old Filipino proverb I heard once. ‘It’s never too late to offer something good.’ I like that. I also like ‘What goes around comes around.’ But that sounds much more ominous.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Sense of humor is the trait I value in all people, above all else.

Wheat field at sunset by Vincent van Gogh (188)=8)

Wheat field at Sunset by Vincent van Gogh (1888)

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I hate to admit this, but since this is a “confession” of sorts, I’ll go ahead and tell you: The word I overuse is “whatever,” and I’ve been doing it since elementary school. Back then I mostly used it on my sister. My parents would put her “in charge” sometimes, so she’d tell me to do something and I’d say “whatever” and roll my eyes.

I was a delightful child.

What is your favorite journey?
Life! Of course.

What is your favorite time of day?
Dawn. Definitely dawn. The air is completely different in early morning. The colors, too. Plus it’s a new day and all that jazz.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Jane Eyre. She’s a total bad-ass.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
The knowledge that my daughter is healthy and happy and I didn’t screw her up for life. She’s sixteen now. I’m not sure what age you learn if you screwed them up or not. I’m hoping it’s sixteen, because she’s doesn’t seem too screwed-up right now.

Wheat Field by Vincent van Gogh (1888)

Wheat Field by Vincent van Gogh (1888)

Who or what is your first love?
Books! Books! Books! Of course.

What’s the last dream you remember?
I usually remember all my dreams. The most memorable dream I had recently was that I was trapped in a world where everyone had giant heads––like Jack from Jack in the Box.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
That’s always a tough question, but I’m going with Whistle for the Choir by the Fratellis. The first time I heard it was in my office, which is a very unromantic anecdote, but I love the song.

It’s cheerful and it’s got whistling. (I’m not sure if it’s possible to have uncheerful whistling, but I’m sure it is).

I also love showtunes, and I have special nostalgia for cheesy old love ballads. My mother used to sing ballads around the house when I was a little girl, but she never knew all the words so I usually only got the first two bars. The theme song for Love Story, for example. She’d sing, “Where do I begin to tell the story …” then hum the rest. I was twenty before I knew the second line.

What’s your madeleine?
80s music. That’s why I love it. Even the bad songs, like the Final Countdown by Europe.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?