Alumni Interview Series: Sina Grace

What was something memorable about the Creative Writing program at UCSC?

My classmates.  The people I connected with in the Creative Writing program are my closest friends from UCSC. When you're spending so many hours with a small group of people trying to find out how to express yourself using language, you kind of end up reaching new levels of intimacy. 

What are you reading right now?

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood, My Hollywood Life by Mona Simpson, and The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi.

What are you doing now professionally?

By day, I work as the editorial director for Robert Kirkman's Skybound imprint at Image Comics, which entails managing schedules, futzing around with files, and copy editing several comic books a month. 

By night, I draw a comic book called The Li'l Depressed Boy.

Then, on weekends and wee hours of the night, I am working on a new graphic novel called Not My Bag.  That one is about retail hell. 

Do you still write, and if so how do you find the time?

The answer above kind of addresses the first half of this question.  To answer about finding time: A highly motivated classmate in high school once told me the following when I asked her the same question:

"I am awake 16 hours a day.  I use each and every one of those hours to their fullest."

I think what she was really trying to say is that she sleeps a full eight hours a night... a quality of life that I cannot seem to attain.

Ernest Hemingway has been described as a master of brevity. Let's one-up him. Could you describe your favorite written work (written by you) in a single word?

Psychobabble.

Your least favorite?

Psychobabble.

And finally, do you have any words of advice for Creative Writing majors, or for people who are interested in applying?

I always say this, and this is particularly important for writers who are actually in school to remember: you are always a student.  The most important thing a growing artist can gain from school is getting the tools to grow.  Finding your "voice" and stuff happens with time and practice, but being a strong writer comes from taking in feedback from your peers and professors, and getting over whatever pretense you bring into a classroom.

That, and: write for yourself. The first few quarters I spent trying to write stuff I thought would be received as "smart" or "deep," and it wasn't until I wrote a chapter from a novella that was to amuse myself that my peers actually responded to the work.