Featured Interview With Anna Pulley
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born and raised in the spiny desert arms of Tucson, Arizona, spent four years in Chicago, and then headed back west to the San Francisco Bay Area, because as much as a piece of my heart will always be in the midwest, I cannot winter.
I’ve been a hot dog slinger, a shoe salesman, a PE teacher, and a waitress at a retirement home (among other things) before I figured out the best way to degrade myself was as a writer.
(I kid. I love writing. If I couldn’t write, I would perish.)
I’m also queer, multiracial (white/Native American/Latinx), and deaf/hard of hearing. You would never know these things just looking at me, as I pass mightily and my hair covers my hearing aids. I’m trying to be better and more vocal about the parts of myself that aren’t so readily viewable, but it remains a challenge.
I’m the author of The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (with Cats!), (Flatiron, 2016), which Tegan and Sara said was “an adorable and hilarious way to start the day,” Cheryl Strayed called a “must-read,” and Bound actress Jennifer Tilly said was “thoroughly charming.”
In 2021, I released an erotic short story collection, called Transgressions under the pen name Anastasia Fleur. The name is an homage to my mom’s side, the Flores clan.
Love Where You Work is my first (published) novel. I’ve written two others. One is a romance/mystery/paranormal tale about a young Native girl whose deafness enables her to hear spirits in other realms that help her solve a mystery. I still think it’s a good story but genre-wise, it’s a mess, so it may not ever see the light of day.
The other novel is an erotic romance and is with an agent currently.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
Very early! My first “published” book was in my elementary school library — bless the librarians who asked me to contribute an illustrated story in second grade. From what I remember it was about a cowboy who gets shot by a raccoon. Unfortunately, no copies survived.
Writing has always been my etched in my fabric, no matter how unsure or waffly I’ve been in other areas in my life, writing has been the one constant. Part of my unshakeable, irrevocable self.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I love pretty much any book that tells a good story. And I try to keep an open mind. Right now I’m reading a romance novel, a self-help book, a mystery, a book on editing, and a compilation of Native American myths.
The exception is horror because it gives me nightmares! Even scary books for children.
My “desert island” books, which inspire me constantly, are:
Sarah Manguso’s Ongoingness
Lorrie Moore’s Birds of America
Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds
And Maggie Nelson’s Bluets
Tell us a little about your latest book?
I wrote Love Where You Work to impress a girl.
I’d like to tell you that I have loftier ambitions––and I do! I want people (especially queer people) to feel seen and less alone. I want to make people laugh and feel warm and excited and turned on and loved. I want to write books where queer people have happy, exciting, interesting stories instead of tragic ones.
But mostly I wrote this book to impress my partner. It was conceived originally as a sexy birthday present, a short story called “HRotica.” (It bookends Transgressions.) We had been dating for two months at the time, and she works in HR, hence the title and subject.
Vika loved the story, and we brainstormed a plot together to make part 2, which we cheekily called “HRotica: The Age of Cumpliance.” After that, I was genuinely curious how the story of Julia and Clare would end, so I kept writing.
I was also dealing with grief related to the death of my father, and I made that a struggle for Clare as well. (Like Clare, my dad’s ashes are in my closet. Unlike Clare, who struggles with letting go and moving on, I haven’t been able to scatter the ashes because of pandemic thwarting.)
At its heart, the book is about the search for connection — and how we tend to complicate those things and get in our own way sometimes.
It took me 2 months to write initially, and about 6 months to revise.
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