Interview with Christina Dalcher

3 min read

Christina Dalcher is a writer, reader, novelist, and flash fiction addict. She has lived on four continents and four islands, some of which overlap. She speaks Italian with a hint of Florentine in it, and her Spanish used to be terrific. Her heroes are Stephen King and Roald Dahl and Carl Sagan. She hopes King lives a long and healthy life for years to come, but when he’s gone she'll be sending him an engraved invitation to her Dead Person’s Dinner Party.

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Girly Book Club: How did you get into writing and what inspired you to write your first book?

Christina Dalcher: The truth? Okay. You asked for it. I literally woke up at three in the morning, nudged my husband, and said, “I’m going to write a book.” That was the easy part. The hard part was figuring out how exactly one goes about writing 80,000 words that someone else might want to read. So I studied up. As for the inspiration behind VOX, it began with me thinking about how vital language is to our human-ness, and then asking what might happen if we took that faculty away.

GBC: What makes a book great, in your opinion? What elements does a great story possess?

CD: I think this requires the equivalent of a dissertation as a response, but I’ll give it a go. I love commercial fiction, but I also love stories that make me think. Form without content puts me to sleep, and escapist pulp (which I confess I adore) doesn’t stay with me. Any writer who can combine an easy read with something to think about is a writer I’ll have on my bookshelf.

GBC: What are you doing if you’re not writing?

CD: Does ‘everything’ work as an answer? If not, then a short list: running, walking, working on writing-related tasks, reading, listening, and cooking.

GBC: Name your favourite bookshop in the world.

CD: All the love goes to Goldsboro Books in London (and not just because they awarded their annual Glass Bell to VOX!). The shop is fabulous at bringing in authors for signings, commissioning limited editions, and stocking rare and signed copies.

GBC: Physical book, e-book, or audiobook? – and why.

CD: Totally depends on the context! If I’m traveling, e-books are a must. If I have the time to sit and lose myself in a book, then paper. But most of what I ‘read’ is in audiobook form because it allows me to multitask!

GBC: What was your favourite book as a child?

CD: Let’s see — in my early years it was Charlotte’s Web because who can’t dig a book about a pig making friends with a spider? Once I hit sixth grade, I went on to slightly heavier things: Gone with the Wind was my first grown-up read. (There’s a reason for this: the movie was first aired on network television when I was in the fifth grade!)

GBC: We’re always on the hunt for our next great read. Recommend us a book to add to our TBR pile!

CD: I’ve been a reading fool over the past year or so, thanks to a never ending deluge of ARCs sent to me by publishers. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I highly recommend David Koepp’s Cold Storage for its perfect juxtaposition of horror and humor. I also devoured Agustina Bazterrica’s dystopia Tender Is the Flesh; it’s searing social commentary wrapped in beautiful writing.

GBC: What is one movie, TV series, or podcast that you’re loving right now?

CD: I don’t usually watch television series, but when I do, I prefer those with standalone episodes. Black Mirror is high on the list. It’s a modern-day Twilight Zone (although very little in this world can compete with the genius of Rod Serling), and it asks hard questions about where technology might take us.

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