juliet escoriaWhat’s Black Cloud about?

The working/joke title was Drugs and Boys. I thought it was funny because it was so obvious. It could have also been called Substance Abuse, Bad Relationships, and Mental Illness but that is a really long title.


What’s with your name? Didn’t you used to write under a different one? Was your given name not good enough?

I like my given name just fine. Part of me really didn’t want to write under a pen name. It felt pretentious. Figuring out how to tell people that you’re suddenly writing under something else is awkward. It feels really weird for someone to call you “Juliet” when the last time they saw you they called you a different name, but it also seems kind of fucked up to tell someone to call you the first name when you’d made it clear already that you’re now going by something else.

I got the name because I found a job at a religious university and it seemed like it would be really bad if the students there Googled me and found the stuff in Black Cloud. I’m pretty sure if the wrong person had found it, I could have gotten fired.

The other good thing about changing my name is that my real one is not SEO-friendly. If you Google “Juliet Escoria,” all that comes up is me.


So what’s your real name?

I’d prefer not to say because I’m still paranoid that one of my former students might Google my real name and find Juliet Escoria. I’m worried that if they did they’d feel betrayed or something, and those students were strange and very religious but they are such sweet people and I kind of love them and I don’t want to feel like I’ve let them down.

My real name isn’t a secret, though. You can find it out by clicking on links on my website. It is also hidden in the Mira Gonzalez blurb on the back of my book. Or you could just ask me.


I want to buy you some shoes. Which ones do you want?

Oh my, that is so sweet of you. I like these and these, the first in a 7 and the second in a 37 (the unicorn one is almost sold out so hurry!!!!!!). Why don’t you e-mail me at julietescoria at gmail dot com and I will give you my address. Wow. Thank you.


This self-interview thing is super hard. I think we should outsource.

Smart. Why don’t we ask some writer-types who are currently signed on to Facebook chat?




What is your preferred place to nap? Do you get inspiration from your dreams for writing? -Carabella Sands

If I am in a really bad mood, my ultimate cure goes like this:

1. Go into bedroom

2. Turn off all the lights, except for the string of Christmas lights that goes around your headboard.

3. Crawl under the covers. It is helpful if you put the covers over your head

4. Go to sleep

5. Don’t wake up til you feel less hate-y

I do get inspiration from my dreams. It seems like the only dreams I remember are the nightmares, and mine tend to be very graphic and violent and grotesque. This makes for good writing material. Here is one poem, as an example.


What do the backstreet boys mean to you? -Oscar Arias

I can’t think the phrase “backstreet boys” without then thinking “Everybody / Rock your body / Backstreet’s back, alright.”

Personally, I like ‘N Sync better. Kevin was pretty cute though. I just Googled and apparently the Backstreet Boys are playing a show near me on May 28.


Do billboards influence you? -Janey Smith

Last night I was driving home and I was very cranky. I was getting onto the freeway and there was a Dos Equis billboard and it was a picture of “The Most Interesting Man in the World” with the words I order my fruit animal style above it. In case you don’t know, “animal style” is something you can order at In-N-Out Burger, which means that your hamburger will come with extra sauce, grilled onions, and pickles. That joke is not even close to funny. It’s just stupid. It made me even more cranky. I went home and watched two episodes of The Office to try and get the cranky away but instead I just fell asleep.


Could you bring that chair over here? -Janey Smith



Do you find that your personal life and satisfaction take a toll as a result of writing autobiographical material? Has it ever bitten you in the ass? -R. Kelly Arceneaux

I really didn’t want my parents to read my book but they did it anyway. They claim they weren’t bothered by it but I’m not sure they were telling the truth.

One of the stories in Black Cloud is directly based on a break-up of mine, although the details have been changed. The ex-boyfriend who was involved in the real life break-up reads my work on a regular basis. I tried to hide this story from him but of course he read it anyway. He Gchatted me and was very upset about it and I felt really bad because he is a good person and I’ve hurt his feelings enough. I am pretty sure he’s gotten over it since then, though.

If anyone else has gotten their feelings hurt over my stories, they haven’t said anything. The cost/benefit ratio is pretty good so far.



I write fiction because then I can deviate from my real life as much as I want. All of my stories start from something true. I generally think of something I once felt or something that happened that stuck with me and then I build a story from there. The first story in the book, for instance: Last summer they didn’t drain the lagoon near my house like they usually do and there were a ton of flies and mosquitoes and it was really creeping me out, so I started writing a story about that. At first I wanted it to be a story about two friends, but it was turning out wrong. Suddenly it involved a mostly made-up relationship, and then it incorporated a different thing I wanted to talk about at some point but thought would be better for another story, which is sitting on the deck while doing whippets near the airport. That’s generally how it works: I’ll start with one thing of truth and probably throw a few more truthful things in but then write a bunch of lies to string them along. I don’t really think much about what’s true or what isn’t, though. I mostly feel my way along and figure things out as I go, trying to think as little as possible until I get to the more intensive editing stages.


Here’s a question for “Glass, Distilled”: Why is it so great to stay up all night and then go to bed when almost everybody else is getting up? -Michael Kimball

For me, there are three things that make this so great: 1) You’re not supposed to do it, so therefore it is fun. 2) The sky is really pretty that early in the morning, and the air generally smells good too. 3) Not very many people are around, which is good because people are annoying.

Staying up all night on drugs, though, is different. Some of the more terrible moments of my life involved seeing the sun come up after having spent the entire night ingesting whitish drugs.

When I worked nightlife in NYC, one of my favorite things about the job was how I would leave work around five or six AM and I would be wearing a lot of make-up and a tight dress and most of the people around me would be jogging or getting bagels or whatever. If there were any other people who, like me, were still awake from the night before – they were usually really drunk and/or high. I wasn’t drunk or high or otherwise coming home from partying. This made me feel doubly subversive, because I had stayed up all night and by looking at me you would have thought I was partying but really I was just being responsible and doing my job.


What were you doing when 9/11 happened? -Rachel Pattycake Bell

I was sleeping. I woke up around 9am because my phone was ringing. My boyfriend was on the other end. He told me that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Towers. I think I told him to shut up. He told me to turn on the TV and I did. It looked like a Will Smith movie. The next day I went to work, which was at Barnes & Noble. We sold out of newspapers in five minutes. 9/11 was not a very traumatizing event if you were a teenager living in Southern California.


JULIET ESCORIA is a writer from Southern California. Black Cloud, her debut story collection, was published by Civil Coping Mechanisms in 2014. Her work has appeared in places like Electric Literature, Hobart, The Quietus, and Everyday Genius. She received an MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College, and a BA in creative writing from the University of California in Riverside. Her literary influences include Eminem, Carl Sagan, PJ Harvey, and Kanye West, among others.

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