The Litquake Author Interview

Alia Volz: Chaos in a Fur Coat

See Alia Sunday, October 7, at Vesuvio for “Do You Come Here Often?”: Writers at the Bar, with Alan Black, Jack Boulware, Beth Lisick, Chuck Thompson, and Missy Robac.

1. What is your favorite book?
It must be As I Lay Dying, because I’ve reread it more than any other book. It’s got rage, comedy and transcendent beauty all happening at once. That economy slays me.
2. Who is your favorite writer?
Cormac McCarthy.
3. If the answers to 1 & 2 are different, why?
They’re similar. I obviously have a yen for dark, funny, poetic novels with horses.
4. How old were you when you were first published?
Around 28.
5. What writing style do you most abhor?
I adore being a woman. But “chick lit” embarrasses me. It makes me wish I had a penis.
6. What is your favorite writing cliché?
I like the cliché about writers being drunks. It gives me an excuse. Cheers!
7. What is your favorite word?
Succotash. Or motherfucker. I can’t decide.
8. When and how do you write?
I don’t have a set routine, but my self-esteem nosedives when I don’t make creative progress. Fear of self-loathing keeps me diligent.
9. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript?
I fret endlessly that it isn’t as good as it might be—that if I wait a bit longer, I’ll get that last zap of inspiration that knits loose ends, or floats the piece to the next level. Consequently, I’ll tinker with manuscripts for years without sending them anywhere. Honestly, I wish I was more relaxed.
10. In what era do you wish you’d been born?
I’d love to arrive in the “gay nineties” so I could ripen in the “roaring twenties.” They sound magnificent in comparison with this most recent decade: the “gloomy oughts.”
11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I’m editing a novel right now, and I’ve discovered that I overuse “low-slung sky.” Go figure. I also cuss too much.
12. Which talent would you most like to have?
I want a talent for being in two places at once. One me can roam this astonishing planet, while the other me stays home to nest and write. Of course I’d end up getting jealous of myself, which could be problematic.
13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’m still working on it.
14. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
The Cheshire Cat: chaos in a fur coat.
15. How would you like to die?
I’d like to croak in my husband’s arms. My least favorite way to die would be away from him. Corny but true.