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: What is it with Tesla? I mean, you mention Tesla, and you’re actually not the only YA writer who seems interested in him.
Alma: [Laughs] He was nuts. He was a complete mad genius. How do you not put someone in a fantasy who earned the title of The New Wizard of the West in his lifetime? He came to the States with four cents in his pocket and a letter of introduction; that was all he had. And essentially he got screwed by the system because he was an old-world gentleman … And of course, there’s the blessed pigeons. [Tesla was a great friend to the creatures.]
Alma: Did you choose to live in New York, or was it circumstance, or would you pick New York as the place you would ever want to live?
Sabrina Banes: I ended up here as a result of circumstance, and I chose to stay. I’ve told this story before, but we moved here when I was thirteen. My dad was a minister, and he had gotten a church here, and when he died when I was sixteen, I literally refused to move. I did go away to college in New Orleans, but I came back, and I think I always will.