Highest Rated Comments

CatherynneMValente18 karma

What a cool question! Someone who is patient and open to weirdness and won't get fed up because I used a three syllable word. Someone who is a Reader--who has read a lot of other things in a wide variety of fields. Someone who wants to be changed by books, who is passionate about stories.

Umberto Eco once said that he spends the first 100 pages of any of his books teaching the reader to read the rest of the novel. I've always liked that thought. Every book you read wants to teach you to be the kind of reader who reads that book.

I look for readers who read like I do--with appetite and ardor.

CatherynneMValente16 karma

Easy answer? Spiders. Yeah, yeah, cliche, but I seriously lose my dignity in the presence of any spider...or insect.

More serious answer? Going back. Both personally and societally. Having progress revoked--having to return to a situation that was less free, less kind, less private, where less was allowed. Returning to the past isn't, for me, a dream to keep me warm at night. It's a nightmare. The 50s were awful for women, POC, queer folk of all types, for personal agency in general. And I've certainly had a "50s" of my own life, where everything seemed fine, but all the smiles were forced and I had no ability to determine my own fate. Tumbling backward is my biggest fear, on both macro and micro levels.

CatherynneMValente10 karma

Shirley Jackson, Hope Mirlees, China Mieville, Christopher Barzak, John Crowley, Theodora Goss, Kelly Link, Charles Yu, Nnedi Okorafor, Genevieve Valentine, Diane Wakoski.

CatherynneMValente10 karma

I usually have a special playlist for the particular novel I'm working on. I listen to a lot of acoustic music with good lyrics--I like the serendipity of a word or a line breaking through my concentration at an elegant moment. I can't listen to anything to aggressive while I work or I get distracted. One of my big comfort listening albums is the FFVIII soundtrack.

CatherynneMValente9 karma

I wrote my first novel, The Labyrinth, when I was 22. And I knew no one would publish it. I didn't bother with New York presses. I submitted it to a few small indie places and was rejected--and then got wrapped up in graduate school and deciding that no one loved my books.

I had been blogging on Livejournal for awhile when I read a post by Nick Mamatas, a wonderful author whose first book had just come out. I asked him where I should submit a weird surrealist novel--and emphasized that I wasn't asking him to read any chapters or anything. Nevertheless, Nick is kind and offered to look at my book and send it on to his publisher if he liked it, which I did and he did. Prime Books bought The Labyrinth within a week.

My second big break, and possibly bigger in the scheme of things, was when I turned in an early draft of The Orphan's Tales to Prime. My editor noted that it was far more commercial than what I'd been doing to date and sent it to a friend of his at Bantam Spectra. Bantam took 18 months to get back to me, but they made me an offer, I got an agent, and the rest is my breakneck life for the last eight years.