An Interview with Leesa Cross-Smith
Introducing Leesa Cross-Smith, the judge of our third
1. What is your current obsession? (That is, what are you reading? Or what are you playing? What are you watching? What are you listening to on repeat?)
Jane Austen, as prettymuch always. The books and the adaptations. Such a comfort for me when the world is too dark/sad/upsetting. I listen to "Super Trouper" by ABBA a lot. And "33 'God'" by Bon Iver. And "Stargazing" and "Sicko Mode" by Travis Scott. I just started watching Bodyguard and love it. Just finished season one of Killing Eve and loved it. Also, Salt Fat Acid Heat.
2. What are your biggest pet peeves you find in other people’s writing?
Writers so often have to hear all the things they're doing wrong, so I try to stay positive as much as I can! I don't really have many pet peeves when it comes to other people’s writing. Doesn't mean I love everything, but I do my best to keep my focus on the things I do. If I had so say anything, I guess I would just say hopelessness. Because who wants that?
3. Describe your home:
It's a light brown split level in a suburban country-ish neighborhood here in Kentucky. We have a purple front door and an orange back door. Lots of twinkle lights and Nikki McClure prints. A red couch. We purposely don't have a dishwasher or a microwave. Compost pile out back. Gold-yellow walls, some blue. Our living room is hot-chocolate brown. So many books and a gray cat. It's a v colorful, cozy, chill hippie house.
4. What book might people be surprised to find on your shelves?
I really have everything from Baseball Prospectus, all the annotated hardback and paperback Jane Austens, books on military history/the Civil War, to lots of books on birding/ornithology. I have a hardback set of all the Twilight books. And my husband and I were both English majors, so we have, like, five copies of Jane Eyre. But honestly, I don't know if any of this would be surprising? I'm v open about that things I love and I love a lot of things!
5. What is the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning?
Hot tea. And my husband works from home, so usually him, literally.
6. What is your most reliable antidote to negative thoughts?
My faith. Truly. I can't live this life in this human body without faith in a holy God who will one day make all things right.
Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and the author of the novel Whiskey & Ribbons (Hub City Press, 2018), the short story collection Every Kiss A War (Mojave River Press, 2014), the forthcoming short story collection So We Can Glow (Grand Central Publishing, 2020) and forthcoming novel This Close To Okay (Grand Central Publishing, 2021). Whiskey & Ribbons was longlisted for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Every Kiss A War was a finalist for both the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction (2012) and the Iowa Short Fiction Award (2012). Her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, Oxford American, Best Small Fictions, and many others. Find more @ LeesaCrossSmith.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @LeesaCrossSmith.
Photographs by Loran Smith & Mickie Winters