If you've gotten hooked on the recent craze for Young Adult novels, chances are, you're already very familiar with Carolyn Mackler, the author of beloved YA books including The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, and Vegan Virgin Valentine.
Just in time for her latest offering—Infinite In Between, which hits bookstores today—and ahead of her upcoming appearance at Books of Wonder—we caught up with Mackler about the infinite charms of the Upper West Side, the time she shacked up in a therapist's office, and more:
1. What neighborhood do you live in?
Upper West Side, in the low 100s.
2. Is this your dream neighborhood or is there someplace else in NYC you’d prefer to settle in?
Dream neighborhood. My husband and I used to live in the west 60s and I thought that was the place to be, but once we had kids and moved up here ten years ago, I fell in love with this neighborhood. We’ve got the gorgeous prewars and the charming brownstones and businesses and great public schools—and also the best bike paths and sledding hills in the city.
3. Do you own or rent?
4. How’d you find it?
We looked at more than one hundred apartments for over a year. It dominated our Sundays. But our list of criteria was pretty long.
5. What’s the one thing you love the most about it?
Our huge south-facing windows. And the fact that we can lean a certain way and see the Empire State Building. Oh, and the washer-dryer!
6. If there’s one thing you could change about your apartment, what would it be?
I’d add another bedroom. We joke about slowly moving our wall into our neighbor’s apartment until we’ve claimed another room.
7. In three words, describe the first apartment you've ever lived in.
Above a bar (Ithaca).
8. Do you prefer old NYC or this NYC?
I like this NYC just fine.
9. Tell us about your favorite apartment you’ve ever had.
I love our current apartment, but I also have a recurring dream about our apartment on West 69th. In my dreams, we still live up here but I’ve kept that little sunny apartment as my writing studio.
10. And the worst?
When I first moved to NYC, I lived in a therapist’s office. Someone knew someone who knew an elderly therapist who wasn’t using her office much and charged me three hundred dollars a month to sleep over there. But in the mornings I’d have to put up the futon and hide my blankets and make it look all formal again. Also the bookshelves were all books like I’m OK – You’re OK and Gifts from the Child Within.
11. Name one NYC service you couldn’t live without.
12. What's your favorite spot in the city?
The roof of our building. We have a landscaped roof with a garden and lawn furniture. Sitting up there on a summer night, eating dinner with friends and watching the sunset over the Hudson—that’s enchanting.
13. Which would you rather: Brooklyn brownstone or a penthouse in a shiny, new condo?
Can the brownstone be in Manhattan?
14. If you could live elsewhere, where would it be?
That’s our perennial question. Someone recently told me that you’re not a true New Yorker unless you have an escape fantasy. For us, it’s Northern California. We certainly waste plenty of time on Zillow and Trulia around here.
15. Any advice for a recent New York transplant?
Walk on the Highline. Bike through Central Park. Walk in Riverside Park. It’s key to find quiet little respites in this super-intense city.