So happy to see How to Set Yourself on Fire in the Sunday San Diego Union-Tribune Spring Arts Preview!
You can read it online here!
Q: How has living in San Diego influenced your debut novel?
A: San Diego is fundamental to this book. I’ve lived here since I was 11 years old, and I’m still always unsettled by the heat in October and November. That’s when this book is set, because that often feels like the most existentially weird time here. The way any sort of season only shows up in the very early morning or late at night. And fire: the way I’ve watched wildfires shake us to the core, and then, we gradually work around wildfire season, and soon we try to act like we’re used to a wildfire season, but we never are. Also, living in a city that’s often caricatured as some sort of beachy, perfect-weather joke made me want to kick at that a little. I wanted to set a story here without making a big deal out of it. The book is very much anchored in place but also, to me, very universalizing of San Diego: this could happen anywhere, but it didn’t, it happened here with a backdrop of insufferable autumn heat and a haze of ash in the sky.