Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Vanessa Cuti Interview - The Tip Line

Photo Content from Chelsea Sedoti

Vanessa Cuti's fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories 2021, The Kenyon Review, AGNI, West Branch, Indiana Review, Cimarron Review, The Cincinnati Review, Shenandoah, The Rumpus and others. She received her MFA from Stony Brook University and lives in the suburbs of New York. The Tip Line, her debut novel, is forthcoming from Crooked Lane Books in April 2023.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I was in fourth grade when I wrote my first story. I was amazed at the magic I felt when making up a whole world using only words.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
Unfortunately, you’ll have to get comfortable with rejection. It’s frequent and it’s at every level and you just can’t let it get the best of you—though I have a hard time taking this advice sometimes. But it’s never personal.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
I think probably the last chapter. I don’t want to spoil anything but I think it’s a fitting conclusion. I think it shows a real journey for the main character.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
I think storytelling is a means of escape but at the same time also a means of introspection. Like, sure, you get to pretend to be other people, but it also exposes some truths we have hidden deep down.

Can you tell us when you started THE TIP LINE, how that came about?
I started in about 2016 I think? I knew I wanted to base a novel on my time working at a tip line but it took me a few years to figure out the right way to do it.

What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
Honestly it was pure relief. Relief and joy.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from THE TIP LINE
I have so many favorites! But the excerpt below takes place just as the whole mood in the book is about to totally shift.

Place was a mess on Monday. Busier than I’d ever seen it. Something setting people moving, a new purpose. It was not a small county, Suffolk, and it had one of the largest departments in the country. But it was not accustomed to big city crimes, crimes that would spawn encyclopedia entries and reenactments on TV shows: several bodies at once, no immediate solution. A mystery.

Even in the people uninvolved. The girls at the front desk when I walked in: somber, sober, silent when they looked up from their computers, almost in unison, to wave hello. They were waiting. Ready for anything. Different girls from the ones I had chatted with on Friday night at the happy hour. Now they were cooled off, pulled back. No more pink cheeks, beer spilling, dripping to wrists, showing me pictures of their kittens and/or their boyfriends, husbands, men they had met in this very building. And the women on my walk to the office, all the women. The secretaries behind their opened tinseled doors, hushed on the phones, ears pricked for the next thing, listening for the calls of their bosses. Yes, Sergeant; yes, Lieutenant; yes, Chief. Yes. Just say yes.

What's your most missed memory?
My father. He died five years ago and I really wish he could have seen my first book published.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?

What was your favorite subject when you were in school?

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid?
I grew up in the 80s and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
I tell my son I love him every day.

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
I actually don’t remember but I was probably also having a lot of wine.

Perfect for fans of Hannah Morrissey and May Cobb, Vanessa Cuti’s debut is an unsettling thriller that asks just how far you should go to find love.

Anxious to get married, thirty-year-old Virginia Carey lands a job as an operator at a police tip line, where she thinks finding a husband will be easy. There’s Charlie Ford, a surprisingly sweet homicide detective, and charming police chief Declan “Deck” Brady. But just as Virginia’s plans begin to fall into place and she can almost picture a ring on her finger, she answers a call from Verona—a mysterious woman who provides a tip about four bodies on a remote local beach.

Verona, a sex worker, also gives Virginia details on sordid and raucous parties attended by law enforcement officers, and on the strange fetishes of cops she has been involved with. Then comes an explosive tip: Verona thinks it’s a police officer who is responsible for the killings.

But it can’t be true—the cops Virginia works with are marriage material, even if they are a little rough around the edges. While Verona trusts that her tips are being heard because she and Virginia have formed an unusual connection, Virginia realizes that the key to solving the case is ultimately in her hands.

The tip line will reveal the truth about those murders. So long as Virginia is willing to hear it.

You can purchase The Tip Line at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you VANESSA CUTI for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Tip Line by Vanessa Cuti.

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