AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Genevieve Valentine

Tell us about your latest project.

With The Girls at the Kingfisher Club now officially out in the world, I’m finishing up edits on my next novel, Persona, a near-future political thriller (forthcoming in early 2015 from Saga Press).

You watch a LOT of television, a pursuit which has now yielded some sweet gigs for you, like recapping Sleepy Hollow for io9, and writing for The Onion’s AV Club. What is it about the television medium that captivates you so much (even if sometimes it’s because of how gloriously bad it is)?

Oh yikes, I just love TV so much. (Movies, too, but I’ll try to stay on topic.) A lot of that love, I’m sure, is the same attraction to serial storytelling that got me interested in being a novelist back when I was a kid; watching a story come together, seeing how themes and plots are constructed, how relationships change, following the long and harrowing journeys of a group of characters you come to know well. (There’s also the fact that a TV show is in some ways a living thing, and changes as it grows, both for better and for worse, including the fascinating and fraught relationship between a TV show and its audience.)

Would your dream writing job be to work on, or run, a television show?

That’s a very interesting question. It’s a different skill set — especially being on a writing staff, where there’s a lot more planning and collaboration than I’m currently used to and a lot more thinking ahead than I’ve ever managed — and showrunning is an amazing and life-consuming thing that I am perhaps not suited for. I’d definitely be interested in writing for a TV show someday; everybody needs that one episode where all characters have to go undercover at a Renn Faire to investigate a thing, right? If not, they should all need that, and they should call me.

What are your top five television shows of all-time?

You’re a monster.

This changes constantly and depends significantly on what you’re asking about what I get from the show itself. It’s hard to argue with The Wire as one of the best, but Homicide has a special place for me because of the formative effect it had on the way I watched TV. Recapping Boardwalk Empire for the A.V. Club has made me both more demanding and more appreciative of what it can do. There’s The Hour, finite but hardly finished (Lix Storm, come back to me), and The Middleman, gone before its time; Prime Suspect 3 is impeccably cast, as was Top of the Lake. If you’re looking to do something besides be sad forever, there’s 30 Rock, My Lovely Sam Soon, and a cadre of British shows with actors I love and embarrassment humor I never got over; there are adaptations (Elementary, the Russian Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Anne of Green Gables, what, I’m not made of stone). And that’s ignoring shows that went astray but have one amazing season to hang on to (Battlestar Galactica, Queer as Folk UK), obscure shows I have a soft spot for (Decoy: Police Woman), shows I watch with “Oh, you” abandon (Sleepy Hollow), and shows I have a complicated relationship with (one hundred shows).

To sum up: You can’t make me pick favorites, and also I don’t leave the house much.

What are you working on now, and what’s coming up next for you?

Right now I’m trying to keep a solid line between my fiction brain and my nonfiction brain, which have a way of bleeding into one another if I’m not careful. I’m also wading through a draft of an SF novella, Dream House, which will be coming out from WSFA press in October 2014. And I have about eight hundred TV episodes that aren’t going to watch themselves.