Novelist Kelsey McKinney: The Interview

Illustration for article titled Novelist Kelsey McKinney: The Interview

Kelsey McKinney, a features writer at our sister site Deadspin, announced today that her debut novel, God Spare The Girls, will be published at some point in the future by The Book Group. Kelsey, a fellow medium, is a friend to, and she was gracious enough to grant an exclusive first interview with the soon-to-be world famous author.

Advertisement Hello, Kelsey, welcome to our interview series. To kick us off, would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?


Kelsey McKinney: Hello Patrick! Thrilled to be here, at my favorite website where I get all my news. I would say that I am a writer for Deadspin who has a very good dog.

PRKDC: I’m going to start with a comment, not a question: That’s a lot of books.

KM: Wow yeah. A thing about me is that I fucking love books

PRKDC: Beyonce once said something about how “books fill your mind with information.” Agree or disagree?


KM: I fear Beyonce, so I must agree.

PRKDC: Followers of your Instagram will know that you read books at a fearsome pace, stalking them as a red-tailed hawk stalks its prey on the savannah. What is the best book you have read this year, and, conversely, what is the worst?


KM: I must consume at least one book a week or I will die, as all of my followers surely know. It is hard to rank books for me because my memory is like a colander. I really loved Paula Fox’s Desperate Characters which is an old novel about a woman who gets bit by a stray cat. The worst book I have read is a zine about holistic medicine that told me to put cayenne in my cut, which let me tell you, was not fun!

PRKDC: Do all the books sort of blend together at that pace, or have you achieved a higher plane of reading? I imagine authors must keep up a fairly high pace to keep their minds filled with information.


KM: It’s not that they blend together for me. What happens is that some books disappear from my memory entirely if they don’t impact me. I keep all the books I read in an Instagram highlight and sometimes I flip through it and am like wow I have no memory of this 300 page book I read.

PRKDC: If you had to guess, how many pages have you read in 2019? Also, you don’t have to guess, we don’t have a very demanding audience at


KM: I refuse to guess as I cannot do multiplication. I’m currently reading my 75th and 76th book of the year.

PRKDC: Math is dumb.

KM: No math here.

PRKDC: Is there math in your debut novel, GOD SPARE THE GIRLS, out soon from The Book Group?


KM: There is absolutely no math at all. Not a single math.

PRKDC: But there are two girls?

KM: Yes. There are two sisters who are the center of the book, and then a lot of people who surround them.


PRKDC: That’s cool. Do you have a sister?

KM: I do, yes! My sister is much cooler and hotter than me, which is frankly the rudest thing to ever happen.


PRKDC: But has she written any novels?

KM: She has not written one novel! Take that, Shelby!

PRKDC: Now every book features something of the author’s own experience. I say this not as an author of course, but as someone who has read at least a dozen books this year. To what degree is this book autobiographical? Obviously, the plot doesn’t have to be taken from your real life, but how much of yourself did you put in this?


KM: This book is a novel! It is not about my life, and this isn’t a Karl Ove Knausgaard wink wink “not about my life” situation. That said, I started writing this book because I wanted to process through a lot of my experience growing up in the evangelical church, so there is a lot of me in the book, even if it’s not autobiographical. The longer I’ve worked on it, though, the more it has taken on a life of its own and grown away from me, which is a really interesting thing to experience.

PRKDC: Yeah I suppose I phrased that poorly, but it sounds like a very powerful thing to pour a year and a half of effort into something that, at some point in the process, comes alive.


KM: Yes. It’s also weird because as bloggers, we never work on anything this long. Even my most intense reported pieces have taken like 6 months, and then they’re gone. But when you’re with a piece for 2 years, you change as a person over that time, and so the work changes too. It is truly miserable for me to look at the first draft of this book now.

PRKDC: Now this is a completely selfish question, but has your time at Deadspin, marked by stability and progress, shaped the formation of the novel at all? Also, two-parter: when you’re rich and famous will you remember us?


KM: Sadly, the novel was almost finished by the time I reached Deadspin. Perhaps my next book will be about a terrible venture capital fund who tries to ruin something the protagonist loves a lot. And no. Eat shit.

PRKDC: Lightning round, because I’m being told another one of our writers needs the interview room: Name an influence on the novel


KM: The movie Saved staring Mandy Moore.

PRKDC: That was cool, name another.

KM: Shit. Uh. Hillsong United?

PRKDC: Nice. Do you have a cover designed for the book?

KM: Nope! That part is out of my hands!

PRKDC: Final question: Can you pitch the novel to our readers in five words or less?


KM: There are hot air balloons.

PRKDC: Thank you so much for your time, best wishes on the rest of your media tour.


KM: Thank you so much.

Staff writer, Deadspin

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