Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Q&A with Vanessa Cuti



Vanessa Cuti is the author of the new novel The Tip Line. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Kenyon Review. She lives in the suburbs of New York.


Q: Why did you decide to write a novel based on the 2010 Gilgo Beach murders on Long Island?


A: I worked as a tip line operator at the police department when the victims were discovered at Gilgo Beach. It was shocking to me what some of the callers were suggesting about people they knew. People they knew intimately. I quickly became obsessed with the idea of writing a novel about it.


Q: How did you create your character Virginia?


A: Virginia is obsessive and hyper-imaginative. She’s trying to figure out what’s important to her. She’s just reached an age that tends to have some societal expectations attached to it (30) and she hasn’t yet met them and so she’s fixated on trying to understand what this means for her. I thought it was a really relatable place to be caught.


Q: Without giving anything away, did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I had no idea how it was going to end. In fact, I scrapped the original ending during a major revision. That said, I can’t see the book ending any other way than it does now. The other endings were warm-ups.


Q: The writer Caitlin Mullen said of the book, “The Tip Line is an unsettling, bold, and beautifully written debut that explores one womans quest for Mr. Right against the backdrop of an unthinkable crime, asking us to consider the fraught relationships between trust and denial, love and complicity.” What do you think of that description?


A: I am in awe of (though not surprised by) Caitlin’s ability to encapsulate the premise of the book so succinctly and precisely. The Tip Line is definitely all about those fraught relationships. And others.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I just finished revisions on a novel that’s with my agent now. Fingers crossed!


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I’m so thankful to you and your readers for taking an interest in my work.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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