Meredith Russo was born and raised, and lives in Tennessee, United States. Meredith has recently released her first book, If I Was Your Girl, which has received incredibly positive feedback. The story was partially inspired by Meredith’s own story and experiences as a trans woman. Not only is Meredith a passionate writer, but she’s also a self-confessed nerd for video games and Star Wars, which certainly resonates with me! Meredith Russo has got the world talking, and I have no doubt that she is going to go on to have a very successful career. I was very excited to talk books with the exciting new author, so please, enjoy my interview with Meredith Russo…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I tell them I’m a novelist! It’s my way of sticking it to all the people who made jokes about flipping burgers when I majored in Writing.
When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I still remember sitting with my sister while our Mom read it to us when we were little.
Can you remember the first real story you wrote?
I do, it was an embarrassing rip-off of the movie Aliens and no, it will never see the light of day.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A comic book artist. I used to be all about drawing, and I didn’t really get into writing anything but fanfiction until college.
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
I think she’d be relieved! Like, “Oh hey kid, you’re going to get to live as a woman and you’re going to be a published author!” She’d absolutely flip out.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
No routine at all, but I tend to read at night, intending to go to sleep after an hour but staying up until four in the morning instead.
I think it would be The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, as far as my style and the themes most important to me.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring writer?
Write all the time. Keep a journal. Write blog posts. Write fanfiction. Write whatever, just be writing.
Do you have any books that you strongly associate with someone important in your life?
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction. I get all my nonfiction from podcasts.
Do you think reading is important?
I think it’s one of the best empathy building tools we have, and it’s a perfect escape valve for when life gets overwhelming. Carl Sagan talked about how the written word is basically magic if you look at it from the right angle, and I couldn’t agree more.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
Real books. Not out of any misguided elitism, it’s just that I broke my e-reader.
Name a book that you feel every human should have to read by law.
This is so hard! The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, I guess? My reasoning is, of course, ardently feminist.
I don’t care for it much anymore, but Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides meant a lot to me when I was a teenager and I wasn’t seeing anything else that spoke to me about gender anywhere.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, because I feel like the narratives of poor LGBT people of color are at least as underserved as narratives of trans people, not to mention the intersection of the two.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I want to delve as deep as possible into the trans lit scene so I can do a better job recommending things for people who are interested in my book.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
I Just Can’t With This Right Now: A Meredith Russo Story.