As we’re settling into our trendy shearling coats and concocting creative tea latte recipes, we’re also on the hunt for the perfect fall reads. Enter Samantha Mabry’s All the Wind in the World, a gorgeous novel that is definitely worthy of a cozy binge-read session. Longlisted for the National Book Awards, the book takes you to the mesmerizing Southwest desert, where Sarah and James are teen farm workers. They’re in love and on the run, until they stumble onto a cursed ranch… which might just be the end of everything they hold close. We caught up with Mabry to chat creativity, inspiring ladies, and more. Scroll on to learn more from this brilliant author!
Brit + Co: Describe your book in six words or less.
Samantha Mabry: Dust. Horses. Prophecies. Bees. Lies. Heartbreak.
B+C: Where/when do you do your best writing?
SM: Almost anywhere but at home, where I tend to get too distracted by cats, cat hair, that one book on the shelf that’s slightly crooked and needs to be straightened. There are a couple of coffee shops, bars, and hotel lobbies (my favorite) that I rotate through. My brain starts to give out after 11am, so I try to get an early start and get a good couple of hours in.
B+C: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done for book research?
SM: Oh, I don’t know! I tend to act things out, so I can make sure the body movement I’m describing makes sense. I also like to go to the places my novels are set and try to pick up on descriptions that are atypical and aspects of the place that may be overlooked. I like to lie flat and look at skies a lot.
B+C: What’s your go-to cure for when you’re stuck in a creativity rut?
SM: Reading in the bathtub. See also: looking at the sky.
B+C: What two lady heroes do you turn to for inspiration, and why?
SM: The writer Annie Dillard and musician Neko Case. I look to Annie Dillard because she was the first writer I really wanted to emulate — like, I wanted to have brutal and clear descriptions like she does and make good meaning out of observations. I look to Neko Case because she’s unique, arty, and a bit strange. She also seems to work really, really hard. She also likes dogs.
B+C: What’s your latest Instagram (or Tumblr/Twitter/media) obsession?
SM: There’s a company called KKDW (@kkdwco) that does fabrication welding out of their workshop in the Texas Hill Country. They, too, like have many dogs. It’s basically my dream life — dogs and welding cool stuff in a quiet place in the country.
B+C: Can you name a book that you think deserves a little more love + recognition?
SM: There’s a novel that came out in 2003 called The Moth Diaries. It’s by Rachel Klein. I wouldn’t have ever found it myself, but it was recommended to me by my friend, Sarah McCarry. It’s about a boarding school and a girl who thinks her new roommate may be a vampire. It’s very eerie and bizarre, and I totally love it.
B+C: What’s next on your to-read pile?
SM: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.
B+C: What advice do you have for aspiring creative ladies?
SM: This is advice I read somewhere else, but it really resonates with me: Be very, very selfish about your time. If being an artist is a priority, you have to devote time to it, which means you have to make sacrifices elsewhere. It also means surrounding yourself with people who support you being selfish about your time.
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