This post is one in a series introducing the ChiYAwriters.com contributors. We hope you’ll stick around to learn more about us and to follow our writing adventures in and around Chicago!
Who is your fictional hero?
Hermione. She’s bookish, brave, and—when the occasion demands it—badass. She stands up against bullies and champions the downtrodden, even when her classmates mock her for it. And, like all the greats, she needs only one name. Hamilton. Beyoncé. Hermione. Enough said.
Who is your real-life hero?
Jane Austen. Because she wrote women into the narrative. (To paraphrase the lyrics of Lin-Manuel Miranda, another of my real-life heroes.)
If you were a fictional character, who would you be?
Rory Gilmore. We share a love of books, coffee, and proving people wrong when they doubt us.
What is happiness to you?
A treehouse stocked with books. And hot chocolate. In a maple tree. In autumn.
What inspires you to write?
I write to understand other people and, ultimately, myself. I’m always seeking to uncover how our experiences shape who we are and who we are becoming.
Also, Hamilton. It’s in my head at all times. On repeat. Whether I have headphones on or not. My Shot inspires me to write the best damn story I can. Wait For It inspires me to be patient with myself (and the publishing process).
If you could give three books to every young adult, what would they be?
- Hamilton: The Revolution (a.k.a. The Hamiltome) by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter (Are you starting to see a pattern in my responses? This book not only includes the full lyrics of the musical Hamilton but also reads like a master class in the creative process.)
- Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (I’m not going to give a reason for this one. Just read it. And hug it. And cry over it.)
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (I’m cheating since this book isn’t even out yet, but I’m 99.9% sure it will be on the list. Scratch that. 100%. Preorder it here, folks.)
What’s your favorite work of art (book/movie/song/sculpture/etc.) with a Chicago connection?
Hmm, I’m tempted to say Hamilton since it is being performed in Chicago now. But . . . that seems like a bit of a cop-out. Instead, I’ll offer an old favorite and a new favorite.
Old favorite: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. This classic story of growing up in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood reads as fresh and relevant today as ever. Plus, the writing is pure poetry.
New favorite: Sky Landing by Yoko Ono. This sculpture, unveiled just last week in Chicago’s Jackson Park (South Side shout-out!), is a lovely, hopeful work of art comprised of twelve steel lotus petals growing out of the ground.
What’s your favorite hidden gem in Chicago?
Promontory Point, a.k.a. The Point. This small, treed peninsula jutting out into Lake Michigan on Chicago’s South Side is a wonderful place to walk, bike, barbecue, and swim all summer long. In winter, it transforms into a stunning landscape of snow and ice. With views stretching from the city’s downtown skyline to the Indiana border, it’s the perfect spot to sit and watch the waves and contemplate your place in this big, crazy, beautiful world of ours.