Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the novel 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS and the story collection SAFE AS
For more information, please visit: www.mariehelenebertino.com.
1. Who is your favorite villain, and who is your favorite protagonist in literature?
My favorite villain is society, personified in many stories as the torch-wielding mob. I find myself not really buying most villains as evil because, like, according to who? Many characters we were taught were villains were merely dark-haired stylish single women who decided not to have children. However, society in mob form? Now that I can hate.
2. When did you know you were a writer?
I was four and found a family of bunnies on my grandmother's lawn and felt compelled to write about it. I learned from my brothers who were older and acquired obvious joy from scribbling into their notebooks. I can't remember a time when I didn't process the world by writing.
3. What are you currently working on?
I'm revising a novel, PARAKEET, which will be published in Spring 2020 by FSG. When I take breaks, I tinker with stories.
4. How has your writing process changed over the years?
As time passes, certain elements of writing become easier, and others, harder. The easier I am on myself in certain ways, the harder I am on myself in others. For example, I don't beat myself up anymore if I go a stretch without writing. That has never led to anything but anxiety.
5. Describe your writing style in one sentence.
The world does its thing: with its middle distances, ink refills, breezes and Nicholas Cages, its shattering cruelties and its sometimes equally-as-shattering kindnesses, your little cousin showing you a dance step, the ten minute meditation on my Jet Blue flight last week guided by a honey-voiced woman who repeated "Inhale, exhale, hands" so many times I giggled, its sudden, sharp fallings into love: I take notes.
Five Questions, by Nicole L. Drayton. Nicole is a writer, screenwriter and independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from The New School, and currently works for the university in the MFA in Creative Writing Program office.