Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!
Today we’re joined by Avery Hastings, author of Feuds, the first book in a new YA series published by St. Martin’s Press. Feuds is available September 2nd, and Rival, a novella set in the same universe, publishes in December. When she’s not reading or writing, Avery can usually be spotted lying around in the park with her affable dog. Like her protagonists, she knows how to throw a powerful right hook and once dreamed of becoming a ballerina.
Join us as we squee over Avery’s childhood dog!
Please relate one fact about yourself that has never appeared anywhere else in print or on the Internet.
Once, my childhood dog tried to save my life by leaping to the other side of a chasm. He didn’t clear the gap and bumped his chin as he plummeted (just four feet!) into a muddy ditch. I felt terrible, but luckily he was okay, and I didn’t even need the rescuing!
What is your favorite short story?
It’s a toss up between “For Esmé with Love and Squalor” and “The Yellow Wallpaper.” “The Yellow Wallpaper” appeals to my dark and creepy side; but “For Esmé” has this beautiful line: “I ignored the flashes of lightning all around me. They either had your number on them or they didn’t.” It’s beautifully written.
If you had to choose one band or artist to provide the official soundtrack to your new book, who would it be?
I love soulful, melancholy tunes; so probably The National. Runner up is Spiritualized.
Battle to the death, which weapon do you choose: A) Phaser, B) Lightsaber, or C) Wand?
Lightsaber. I feel as though I could easily practice in advance with all the Star Wars clubs who hang in the parks of New York.
Gremlins! I lived in fear of the little beasts for most of the 1980s; but they’re also partially responsible for my love of terrifying things.
What’s your favorite sandwich?
I enjoy the Scuttlebutt from Saltie in Brooklyn. It contains hard-boiled eggs, feta, black olives, capers, pickles, and pimento aioli—and it’s served on homemade focaccia. Yum.
What’s the most embarrassing guilty pleasure you’ll admit to?
I was going to say ice cream; but okay, here’s the real deal: I eat a lot of things out of the jar with a spoon. Like salsa, tomato sauces, hummus, guacamole, honey, caramel sauce, frosting—basically anything you can throw in a jar. It has been brought to my attention many times that this is inappropriate. I just don’t see the point of diluting the taste of delicious items with boring vessels like chips, vegetables, or even cake.
Also: my favorite thing in the entire world (and one of the most unhealthy things in the entire world) is queso fundido con chorizo—which is a molten vat of cheese and sausage that you ladle into small flour or corn tortillas.
Which language, real or fictional, would you like the ability to speak fluently? Who would you talk to?
I would love to be able to speak Italian. I would probably just move to Tuscany forever and talk to all of my neighbors (the wine merchant, the guy at the fruit stand, the old lady making handmade pasta) in the picturesque countryside where I’d inevitably live. I’d also love to speak Hindi. I lived in India for a year and a half, and I’d like to return and be able to navigate more skillfully.
What’s your favorite fairy tale?
“Brother and Sister” (otherwise known as “Little Brother and Little Sister”) by the Brothers Grimm.