Interview with Kali Wallace, Author of Shallow Graves
10 Mar 2016
Shallow Graves is about a teenage girl named Breezy who is murdered one night after an ordinary high school party. She wakes up one year later to find that she has come back as some kind of undead creature of the night with the ability to sense murderers and an entire world and magic and monsters and mysteries to explore. She travels across the country and meets many interesting new people, some good and some bad, some who want to help and some who want to hurt, all the while trying to figure out what’s happened to her and what kind of place she has in this new world she doesn’t understand.
What are you currently craving?
Oranges. I would really like to have an orange right now.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
Ooooh this is a tough one. I love to talk about writing with other writers. I think I would have to pick Ursula K. Le Guin, although there is a danger that I wouldn’t even be able to ask a question. I would just sort of vaguely splutter, “Books. Science fiction. Fantasy. Stuff. Writing. You know?” And she, I hope, would be gracious enough to interpret my intention and find something to say on those topics. I am certain it would be interesting and wise and well worth talking about for a little while!
If you could invent anything, what would it be?
A spaceship that makes space travel across vast distances, to fascinating corners of the galaxy, safe, easy, and readily available to young adult authors.
What will your next adventure be?
I’m going to get to work on that spaceship just as soon as I’m done writing books.
What books are currently on your night stand?
I have a lot of books on my night stand, because my night stand is basically an extension of my bookshelves: The Whale by Philip Hoare, The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich, The Bishop’s Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison (which I’ve already read; it’s just waiting to go back to the library), I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, and The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes.
What’s your favorite quote or scene from Shallow Graves?
My very favorite scene comes near the end, so I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s a section where my main character–who is, if you’ll recall, very much undead–reflects upon what her life would have been like if it had gone on as planned. It’s hard to explain why this section is so beloved to me, but it’s my favorite, and I hope other people find it as powerful as I mean it to be.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I don’t, really, but do try to live day to day remembering that unless I ever find myself in possession of nuclear launch codes and/or vials of a zombie pandemic virus, the mistakes I makes aren’t going to bring about the end of the world, and in that context a mistake is just a mistake, and there’s nothing to do but learn and try to do better and go forward.
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