A Ten Question Interview With The Artist…Ally Malinenko

Why do you write?

Honestly, I write for connection. It’s a hard and cruel world out there and I try to write as honestly as I can so that someone somewhere might read it and say, “Yes! That’s me. That’s how I feel.” And then I’ll know that I’m not alone on this little blue dot floating out in all that empty nothingness.

What books do you read?

I read a little bit of everything. Most recent reads include Ulysses by Joyce (yes! I finished it!), Six of Crows by Bardugo, Bitch Planet by DeConnick, Regarding the Pain of Others by Sontag, Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro, Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe by Jakiela and What Thou Lovest Well Remains American by Hugo.

Right there we’ve got a classic, a YA fantasy, a comic, a nonfiction essay, literary fiction, a memoir and poetry. That’s a pretty legit sample of my habits.

What inspires you?

My husband. Other people who sacrifice sleep to write. Science fiction television.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?

Well considering I still have a day job (don’t we all?) I knew that I was interested in writing at a young age. I wrote my first short story when I was 8. It was about a child who was killed by a drunk driver. I was a pretty dark kid.

How Do you deal with rejection?

Considering it happens weekly and that this isn’t my first time at the rodeo, pretty well. I don’t let it get to me. I had an editor tell me I was anti-American. That elicited much laughter. I’ve also had literary agents tell me I was close but not close enough to a major press deal. That elicited a few tears. It’s all relative.

Who are some writers you admire?

John Grochalski, Don Wentworth, Scott Silsbe, Jason Baldinger, Dave Newman, Lori Jakiela, Brad Abraham, Kevin Ridgeway and Kris Collins. And I actually know those people which means I really really admire them.

As for writers I don’t know, I admire anyone who puts everything they got into it. The ones that take chances. The weirdos.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

I think I’ve made an art form out of worrying about things that are out of my control. I’m not going to lie I’ve won a few awards.

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?

Stop worrying about things that are out of your control. I would also share this with my current age self and my future self and my deathbed self. All of us need to hear it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t take anyone’s advice about writing. I might as well give you advice on how to live your life which, let’s be frank, is none of my goddamn business.

What is your writing process?

I write a sentence. I re-read the sentence. I change the sentence. I polish polish the sentence. I re-read the sentence. I delete the sentence.

This goes on for years.

 Ally Malinenko is the author of The Wanting Bone and the novel This Is Sarah. Forthcoming books include Better Luck Next Year and How To Be An American. She lives in the part of Brooklyn the tour buses don't come to.


Ally Malinenko is the author of The Wanting Bone and the novel This Is Sarah. Forthcoming books include Better Luck Next Year and How To Be An American. She lives in the part of Brooklyn the tour buses don’t come to.

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