Interview with Helen Phillips
1. What are 5 things you would want to find?
I love finding things that were squirreled away by an earlier version of myself, and that I’ve forgotten about entirely: a twenty-dollar bill found in the pocket of a winter coat a year later, a chocolate bar in the bureau, the first postcard my husband wrote to me sixteen years ago (before he was my husband). And there are a couple of things I’ve lost over the years that I still think about sometimes. One is a green knit cap that fit me perfectly (I bought it in a stall at a handicraft market, and I lost it in a movie theater). And the other is a red dress I had in college that magically vanished. I have no idea what happened to it. But even now I have the instinct to put it on.
2. What are 5 things you would want to hide?
Letters to my children that they can find in later years.
Chocolate bars, again, to be found by myself.
Fever Dream, by Samanta Schweblin, to be found by readers.
The hundreds of poems I wrote between the ages of 13 and 21.
My least generous thoughts about others.
3. If you could choose anywhere in the world for your book to be hidden, where would it be?
On the bookshelf of any parent of young children.
4. If you could find any book, which would it be and why?
The unpublished/lost works of Kafka.
5. Who would you want to find your book (another author, celebrity, et cetera).
The ghost of Ursula K. Le Guin.
Visit Bedtime Stories to listen to Helen Phillips read an excerpt from The Need