susan carlton
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Love & Haight

Love & Haight

Q & A

Where were you born?
In San Francisco. Lucky me.

Were you/are you a hippie?
Well, I still have my faded jeans, I vote blue, support Planned Parenthood, and I didn't buy my daughters Barbie dolls. Even so, I'm a little too square to be a hippie.

What was your most dreaded subject in school?
Trigonometry. Sorry Mr. Trice.

What's your favorite food?
Buckwheat pancakes. I'd be happy if every meal included breakfast foods.

How much of Love & Haight actually happened?
Not so much. I was never a pregnant teen, for instance. And I wished I had a boy like Teddy in my high school life, but, alas, I did not. I do, however, have great memories of thumbing albums at Tower Records, getting lost in Golden Gate Park, and going to modern dance performances that were totally weird.

What about the nude relay?
The Nude Relay was inspired by a similarly epic event at my high school. I was never a runner, just an observer.

What are your favorite books?
As a kid, I loved Harriet the Spy. I wanted to be Harriet M. Welsch because she was relentlessly honest about words and people. My favorite young adult novel is The Perks of Being a Wallflower (brilliant). As for adult novels, I find myself still thinking about Middlesex years after having finished it.

Did you write as a kid?
I was never one of those girls who kept a diary. I'd sometimes buy a nice blank book and years later it would still be blank. Rather than write about myself, I liked to write about other people for the high school paper and yearbook. And, really, journalism is just a different way to tell a story.

Do you have, like, hobbies?
I love to bake (peach crisps! coconut cupcakes!). And I love road trips. I've driven from San Francisco to Portland, Maine, mainly across I-90, and from Atlanta to Boston, winding through parts of Mississippi and Arkansas because "we were close." I can also waste a lot of time in vintage stores.

What's your advice for aspiring writers?
I agree with the classic 'read, read, read' advice—everything from junk to Jane Eyre. When I've got writers block, I like reading screenplays (you can find them online at There's an economy of language to screenplays—it's amazing how much you can convey with the briefest line of dialogue.