Lindsay and I met at the same place I meet most of my writer friends: at Grub Street, the writing center in Boston. We immediately hit it off, commiserating over launch worries—will anyone show up at our readings?*—and celebrating book successes, such as when Kirkus Reviews gave MONTEREY BAY a starred review. The Kirkus reviewer wrote, “Along with creating a fully realized, realistic heroine seen across decades, Hatton is a writer of often exceptional prose.”
*Note, I was at Lindsay’s launch reading; the bookstore was packed!
Lindsay’s debut novel, MONTEREY BAY, is about the town in California and its aquarium. Part of it takes place in 1940 on Steinbeck-era Cannery Row; part of it takes place in 1998 inside the aquarium itself. It tells the story of Margot Fiske, a troubled yet ambitious 15 year-old girl whose illicit romance with a renowned marine biologist changes the town forever.
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Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
I spend a good 75 percent of each day imagining I’m Dana Scully.
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
I recently taught my oldest daughter how to play chess and it makes me happy when she beats me.
When you were a teenager, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
I thought I’d be a writer. I mean, there were some other options in the mix (epidemiologist, orca trainer, actress, cult leader) but writer was definitely the front-runner. In high school, I would embarrass my friends by using them as characters in serialized murder mysteries that I delivered to their desks in study hall each Monday morning. It’s a miracle they didn’t shove me into a locker and leave me there forever.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
In high school and college, I worked summers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In addition to inspiring the novel, my time there definitely fell under the category of “strange.” I spent a lot of time in an otter costume. I decapitated and gutted hundreds of squid. I played with an octopus. I kept little kids from turning the sea stars in the touch tank into frisbees. It was an unusual and beautiful experience and it made other jobs seem a bit dry (pun intended) in comparison.
Do you have a regular first reader? If so, who is it and why that person?
My husband is my regular first reader because he’s always (and I mean ALWAYS) around. No, really: he takes the first pass at my writing because he’s really smart and I trust him. The only challenge here is that he’s such a nice guy that he rarely says anything truly negative, so I’ve had to start learning his special code. For instance: “It’s great!” means “It’s great!” and “I…like it!” means “Burn this immediately and tell no one it ever existed.”
Lindsay Hatton lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and two daughters. She has a BA in Art History and Economics from Williams College, and an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. Once upon a time, she lived in Monterey, California, and worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. MONTEREY BAY is her debut novel.