As a journalist, you’ve interviewed a lot of creative people. Is there anything an interview subject has said to you about the creative process that stuck with you while you were writing?
Strangely enough, I had a cool interview with Kristen Stewart a few years ago when she was in a movie called Adventureland. It’s one of my favorite coming-of-age films, set at an amusement park in the late 1980s, and Brutal Youth begins in 1991. She would have been a baby then, but we talked a lot about the differences between growing up these days, and the kind of self-surveillance that goes on, with every aspect of your life monitored or shared, and growing up back then, which is the last time kids could truly lead secret lives. We didn’t talk about my book, but that conversation made me realize I was writing about a bygone era. There’s something magical about that, like an animal that has gone extinct and now seems mythological.
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