Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Q&A with Tea Hacic-Vlahovic




Tea Hacic-Vlahovic is the author of the new novel A Cigarette Lit Backwards. She also has written Life of the Party, and has been a columnist for Vice and Wired. She is based in Los Angeles.


Q: What inspired you to write A Cigarette Lit Backwards, and how did you create your character Kat?


A: The novel was based on my experience growing up in the NC punk scene in the early 2000s. Kat is based on me! I wanted to represent that specific time in that specific place because I believe it was special and won't happen again.


Small towns can have pockets of magic that, if you come to visit or whatever, you'd have no idea about. The moment is paved over and forgotten. Small towns in the US all look the same now. People don't even base their personalities around music anymore. So I wanted to write a book that represented how things once were. 


Q: How was the novel's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: A Cigarette Lit Backwards is a line from the book. My previous publisher (the late Giancarlo DiTrapano) suggested I use it as the title. It's supposed to represent wasted potential, or a mistake, something done in haste which ends up in the trash. 


Q: Did you know how the story would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: Yeah, my toxic trait is I usually write the last line of my book before writing the first! Things always change along the way, your subconscious can foreshadow shit you aren't even aware of until it comes out on the page.


Q: The novel is set in the early 2000s--how important is setting to you in your writing, and did you need to do any research to write the book?


A: The setting is crucial to the story. ACLB "punks" are nostalgic for the ‘70s punk scene. Today's online kids are nostalgic for the early 2000s, which is insane to me. I didn't have to do any research, I just had to dig through my messed-up memories.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I'm writing my third novel, Heaven and Hell at the Roxy Hotel. It's got it all: bimbos, bums, a talking rat...


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: If you prefer listening to reading you can order the audiobook. I narrated it myself and think it's pretty sick :)


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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