Monday, October 24, 2022

Claudia Lux Interview - Sign Here

Photo Credit: © Sarah Moore

Claudia Lux is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, and has a master’s in social work from the University of Texas at Austin. She lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts. Sign Here is her first novel.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
My dad, the poet Thomas Lux, had a term for this. He called it “the sickness.” It’s how he described the need to write; not the desire or the interest, but the need, the way that we need food and water and kin. He saw it in me before I did, telling me so after reading one of my short stories in college. Even though I had wanted to be a fiction writer my entire life and both my parents were writers, I didn’t think writing was a viable career for me. I didn’t think I was good enough. But my dad was right: I had the sickness. No matter how much I tried to drive my life in another direction, everything kept coming back to that fact. If something keeps puling you back like that, you have to pay attention to it.


  • 1) The very first page I ever wrote of this book was the scene where Ruth is doing her nails on the porch while talking to Mickey and Sean. I had no idea where it would go from there.
  • 2) The New Hampshire house is loosely based on my mom’s friend’s house that I went to every summer as a kid, which also had a boathouse, dock and float. No fire pit, though!
  • 3) The way Madeline and Lily hide the bottle of Malibu in the potted plant is straight out of my own high school shenanigans, as is the beer pong table in the lake. (Sorry mom!)
  • 4) The scene where Trey talks about Grand Theft Auto is based on an idea I had way before I ever started this book. Originally, I thought about turning it into a short story, but I know now it was always meant to be Trey’s.
  • 5) I had so much fun with Trey. It’s one of my favorite things about being a writer: my characters can be way worse people than me. Or maybe just differently worse?
  • 6) I didn’t plan on going into Cal’s background until late one night, when I was loopy from writing for hours on end, I wrote the first sentence of her file—which is a crazy sentence—threw my hands up in the air and said to no one but me and my dog, “good luck dealing with that tomorrow!” Now her story is some of my favorite content.
  • 7) The book was originally entitled ‘What Comes After’ but it was already the title of a recent book, so I changed it.
  • 8) KQ’s full name is Kumquat.
  • 9) There is a full copy of the Hell Orientation Packet on my website!

  • 10) While reading the very first draft, a member of my writing group requested a drawing of Felix. This is what I came up with:

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why?
I can’t imagine my own book being my favorite! Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of SIGN HERE. But my book wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for all the awe-inspiring, earth-shaking books I’ve read over my lifetime. I wouldn’t know how to write, nor would I have a goal for which to reach.

All-time favorite is a huge ask, I love so many different books for so many different reasons. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, The Mothers by Brit Bennett and The Knockout Queen by Rofi Thorpe are all-time favorites. But the book I have reread the most is the Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. In my opinion, it’s the 20th century novelist version of “hold my beer.” He’s really just showing off how he can write in four completely different styles, about this wide span of family, and do each section with such stop-your-heart beauty, warmth and hurt, along with the stagnant terror and anger of not knowing the right way to love or understand those closest to you. While being completely different in style, each section is linked together so intricately that every time I reread it, I learn more about the Compson family’s dynamics and I see more of Faulkner’s vision. I love a book like that—one that keeps on giving.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
The kids I used to nanny for now respond to my comments on their Instagram photos! Also seeing reviews come in from readers has been really incredible. To know that there are people out there in the world meeting these characters who, for so long, only existed in my head, and forging their own connection to them is blowing my mind. I am just so grateful.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Besides working full-time, definitely video games.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
I wrote SIGN HERE right after my dad died, and I processed a lot of my grief through the characters. I was surprised to see the forms of loss that grief took on for each character, how each one of them holds a different component of it, and how even I started to see that loss as rightfully theirs.

A darkly humorous, surprisingly poignant, and utterly gripping debut novel about a guy who works in Hell (literally) and is on the cusp of a big promotion if only he can get one more member of the wealthy Harrison family to sell their soul.

Peyote Trip has a pretty good gig in the deals department on the fifth floor of Hell. Sure, none of the pens work, the coffee machine has been out of order for a century, and the only drink on offer is J├Ągermeister, but Pey has a plan—and all he needs is one last member of the Harrison family to sell their soul.

When the Harrisons retreat to the family lake house for the summer, with their daughter Mickey’s precocious new friend, Ruth, in tow, the opportunity Pey has waited a millennium for might finally be in his grasp. And with the help of his charismatic coworker Calamity, he sets a plan in motion.

But things aren’t always as they seem, on Earth or in Hell. And as old secrets and new dangers scrape away at the Harrisons’ shiny surface, revealing the darkness beneath, everyone must face the consequences of their choices.

You can purchase Sign Here at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.