Episode 592 – Swan Huntley

Virtual Memories Show 592:
Swan Huntley

“I write all my books in first person because I’m very interested in denial, the space between what the character knows and what the reader knows about them.”

Author & illustrator Swan Huntley joins the show to celebrate her two new books, I WANT YOU MORE (Zibby Books), and YOU’RE GROUNDED: An Anti-Self-Help Book to Calm You the F*ck Down (Tarcherperigee). We talk about how ghostwriting a memoir for a Real Housewife of New York led her to write I Want You More, a thriller novel about fame, identity, and murder, why she uses the first person in fiction and loves the challenge of lying to the reader, how we’re seen by others and how we want to be seen, and the fun of writing thrillers and melding character with a big plot. We also talk about how You’re Grounded took shape as a melding of words and drawings, how she settled on “anti-self-help”, how her various addictions shaped her identity and what it meant to be herself as she overcame (some of) them, how taking up drawing in a writing lull helped bring out different voices, and the need to calm the f*ck down. We also discuss the creation of identity vs. the discovery of identity, why she biked the El Camino pilgrimage solo, the memoir she’s working on, the nature of celebrity & our reactions around famous people (& her upcoming essay, “My Best Friend Is Famous”), how she found her place in Los Angeles, and more. Give it a listen! And go read I WANT YOU MORE and YOU’RE GROUNDED!

“When you get into a relationship and you’re falling for somebody, you sort of fall INTO them, in a way. There’s a blurring of lines as you fall into someone else’s life.”

“I feel like my job is to be a professional eavesdropper.”

“I realized the everything I do is a conversation with myself that I’m letting other people in on.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

Swan Huntley is a writer and illustrator living in Los Angeles. Her books include Getting Clean with Stevie Green, The Goddesses, We Could Be Beautiful, The Bad Mood Book, I Want You More, and You’re Grounded. She earned an MFA at Columbia University and has received fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo.

Follow Swan on Instagram.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Swan’s home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4 digital recorder & interface. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Swan by me. It’s on my instagram.

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