5 Questions with Emily Schultz

blondesWe are proud to welcome this Wednesday to City Lights Bookstore Emily Schultz, author of the acclaimed The Blondes: A Novel (from Thomas Dunne Books). Schultz’s new work has been praised by the likes of Margaret Atwood and Stephen King and she’ll be celebrating the book’s release with a special appearance by some alumni and the editor of Joyland Magazine. Emily took the time to answer our 5 questions and her answers are below.

Event: Wednesday, May 13 at 7PM. Emily Schultz celebrating the release of The Blondes with a special appearance by Joyland Magazine alumni Ruth Galm and Rachel Khong. Hosted by Kara Levy, San Francisco editor of Joyland Magazine.

About the Book: The Blondes is a hilarious and whipsmart novel where an epidemic of a rabies-like disease is carried only by blonde women, all of whom must go to great lengths to conceal their blondness.

Hazel Hayes is a grad student living in New York City. As the novel opens, she learns she is pregnant (from an affair with her married professor) at an apocalyptically bad time: random but deadly attacks on passers-by, all by blonde women, are terrorizing New Yorkers. Soon it becomes clear that the attacks are symptoms of a strange illness that is transforming blondes–whether CEOs, flight attendants, students or accountants–into rabid killers.

Emily Schultz’s beautifully realized novel is a mix of satire, thriller, and serious literary work. With echoes of Blindness and The Handmaid’s Tale amplified by a biting satiric wit, The Blondes is at once an examination of the complex relationships between women, and a merciless but giddily enjoyable portrait of what happens in a world where beauty is—literally—deadly.

“Reading The Blondes… Wow!”–Margaret Atwood

“Emily Schultz is my new hero.”–Stephen King

About the Author: Emily Schultz is the co-founder of the literary website Joyland: A Hub For Short Fiction. She is the author of the short story collection Black Coffee Night and the novels Heaven Is Small and Joyland.

City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit?

Emily Schultz: Two of the first poetry books I bought as a young adult were Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Coney Island of the Mind and Wild Dreams for a New Beginning. I’ve had them since I was 16 and they’ve come with me to every apartment I’ve lived in. The first time I visited City Lights was a big moment for me for this reason. I remember at one point I found the shelf with authors’ names starting with SCH and placed my finger between the spines at the spot where I hoped my book would one day sit.

e. schultz

CL: If your book had a soundtrack, what would it be?

ES: I don’t know about a full soundtrack—might have to be something moody composed just for this book—but here are a few song selections:

Christina Aguilera, “The Beautiful People”
Goldfrapp “Yellow Halo”
Amy Winehouse “Back to Black”
Ladytron “Destroy Everything You Touch”
Claudine Longet “The End of the World”
Mudhoney “Touch Me I’m Sick”
The Cramps “Fever”
Kate Bush “Breathing”

CL: What’s the first book you actually finished reading?

ES: I read voraciously in childhood, but I’d say first adult book would have been To Kill A Mockingbird. It was a little beyond my level but I read it independently in seventh grade anyway because I knew it was an American classic and was trying to read up.

CL: If you weren’t a writer, what might you do?

ES: I also edit books for a living, but in high school I wanted to be an architect. I had one of the highest marks in drafting, but my guidance counselor reminded me that my math wasn’t terrific and insisted I was meant to be an English major/writer. Of course, that wasn’t an outrageous prediction on his part since my father was an English teacher at the same school I attended.

CL: Name a few things you’d require if stranded on a desert island for an undefined period of time (and, yes, no Wi-Fi).

ES: I’ll take a good canteen, flashlight, knife, and of course a City Lights blank journal or two. I’m okay being without Wi-Fi—I wrote most of The Blondes while holing up in a cabin down near Joshua Tree with no internet.


A City Lights Blank Journal!? Thanks, Emily! Definitely don’t want to miss Emily and the good folks at Joyland celebrate her new novel, The Blondes. The event is this Wednesday, May 13 at 7PM. Find The Blondes on the shelves at City Lights, on our website, or ask for it at your local independent bookshop.

For more about Emily, check out her official site, Twitter account (@manualofstyle), and go to Joyland Magazine.

Other events this May at City Lights include a rare appearance by Peaches, an evening with comedian Greg Proops, and celebrating 3 new books by Stephen Kesseler. Check out our events calendar for more.

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