SHELDON LEE COMPTON: You can time travel to once place in your childhood but the catch is that you have to stay there forever. What age do you quantum leap back to and why? Also, as in Quantum Leap, who would be the Al to your Sam?
JULIET ESCORIA: I don’t think I would do that. I think I would prefer to stay in the present. Eternal childhood seems kind of boring. Like, I would be obsessed with cats and Green Day for all of time, and that sounds shitty.
SLC: With same crazy luck, you inherit half a million dollars and a 200-acre farm but hate farming. How do you make use of the money and land?
JE: I’d hire Lonnie from the movie Hud to take care of everything, and then I’d sit back and reap in the profits. Maybe I would let him keep Hud around, just to look at, but I wouldn’t allow Hud to stay on my property or talk to me. I feel like a farm lifestyle would be good for writing, although I might try to sway Lonnie from livestock in favor of crops, because livestock smells bad. I think citrus and avocado trees sound really nice.
SLC: Tomorrow you wake up and have a crippling phobia of anything wood, particularly paper. Write a paragraph detailing how you get through the day.
JE: I don’t like this question. There’s no way to escape paper or wood. It’s impossible. As a teen I was in a school for people with behavior and brain problems. Part of the school was going on these long-term extreme wilderness trips. The wilderness trips were so extreme that we weren’t allowed to bring toilet paper. We were instructed to use a rock the size, shape, and texture of your elbow. I feel like doing this would cure any fear of paper (although to find one, you would surely have to go near some trees).
SLC: On your way into your favorite book store you run into a guy who says he’s ready to leave commercial fiction behind and read some indie lit but he’s forgotten what’s what. What five books do you steer him away from? What five books do you insist he not leave without?
JE: I would tell him to stay away from books about murders, books about teens with superpowers, books with men who have long hair and no shirts on the covers, John Grisham, and anything with an Oprah sticker on the cover. I am cheating because I am giving you categories of books and not single titles.
I would tell him he needed to read Black Cloud by Juliet Escoria, Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan, Rontel by Sam Pink, Selected Unpublished Blog Posts of a Mexican Panda Express Employee by Megan Boyle, and Meat Heart by Melissa Broder. Those are all amazing books and I think they would give him a good range of all the neat shit that indie lit can do. (It was really hard to limit it to five books btw.)
SLC: Goonies or Ghostbusters? Cyndi Lauper or Madonna?
JE: Goonies because goonies never say die.
Madonna because she’s amazing. Go watch Katy Perry’s tour diary movie and then go watch Truth or Dare. Go watch some Beyonce videos, and then go watch Madonna’s. 1980s and even 1990s Madonna will rip the shit out of Katy and Beyonce. (I love both Katy and Beyonce but shit, they are some sugarfree bubble gum compared to Madonna.)