Victoria Patterson’s latest book, This Vacant Paradise (released earlier this month) has recently been compared to Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth by the New York Times Book Review. A busy writer and Visiting Assistant Professor at UC Riverside, we’re glad she found time to talk with us about waiting tables, hamster YouTube videos and haunted inns here on cratelit.
What are you reading?
I’m reading the Story Prize finalists: I just finished Anthony Doerr’s Memory Wall; before that, I read Suzanne Rivecca’s Death is not an Option; now I’m reading Yiyun Li’s Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. I’m hoping to finish all three by March 3rd, when the winner is announced.
What were some of your most alternative days jobs as an aspiring writer?
I worked in restaurants for close to 20 years–hostessing, catering, and, for the majority of years, waiting tables. If I never wait on another table, I will have fulfilled a dream. But I still find my way around a dinner party or a party of any sort by helping serve and/or bus tables.
Do you have any special projects in the works?
I’m writing short stories.
What’s your favorite writing snack? Drink?
Coffee, water, and Orbit White Bubblemint Gum.
What have you learned from the oldest person you know? The youngest?
Oldest: “Every day above ground is a good day.” Youngest: Slow down and look.
Do you have any favorite blogs? Are you inspired by any particular YouTube videos?
Three Guys One Book, The Nervous Breakdown, Maud Newton, Beatrice.com and The Millions. What’s youtube? Oh, yeah, now I remember. The hamster playing the piano, or wait, maybe the hamster was eating Cheetos.
What is a word you think you would never use in your writing?
Have you made any writing resolutions for 2011 and are you keeping them?
Have you visited the Mission Inn, the pride of Riverside, CA?
There are some crazy cool paintings at the Mission Inn. Highly recommended. One of my former professors at UCR insists the Mission Inn is haunted. (If you want to know who, come talk to me–we’ll dish.)
Victoria Patterson is the author of the novel This Vacant Paradise, slated for March 2011 with Counterpoint Press. Her story collection Drift was a finalist for the California Book Award and the 2009 Story Prize. The San Francisco Chronicle selected Drift as one of the best books of 2009. Her work has appeared in various publications and journals, including the Los Angeles Times, Alaska Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review. Her essays appear in the anthologies Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book (De Capo Press) and The American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books (Soft Skull Press). She lives with her family in Southern California and teaches through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and as a Visiting Assistant Professor at UC Riverside.