Sabrina Banes, a writer and former journalist in Brooklyn, has a website, YA New York ( http://www.yanewyork.com ), dedicated to young adult literature. She has an unusual interview technique in which the interviewee also gets to ask questions of the interviewer. I will be posting the interview she had with me in short excerpts over the next several days.
Sabrina Banes: Can you tell me in two sentences where you’re originally from and where you’ve lived in your life?
Alma: I was born in Yugoslavia. I went to Africa when I was ten because my dad got a job that took us there. We went to Zambia first for two and a half years, then Swaziland for five and half and South Africa for thirteen. In between I went to school in England. Then I went to New Zealand and lived there for about six years or so. Then I met somebody on the internet, got married and moved to America. Started out in Florida. It took me less than three years to start screaming at my husband to get me out now, and currently we live in the Pacific Northwest in Washington. The directions are “Aim for Canada. Just before you get there, turn right.”
Alma: You said “trashy” is not a diss kind of thing. What makes a successful novel in your eyes, as a reader?
Sabrina Banes: It doesn’t matter what genre I’m reading, or what the subject is at all as long as the author sucks me in, which is a very visceral feeling that I think comes from personal preference. But I do like certain things like texture, or exploration with different formats and perspectives. And for some reason I’ve read a number of books about teenage girls coming back from the dead in one form or another.