The Insider: Ruth Baron


Ruth Baron has not one but two romantic-comedy-worthy jobs: editor and young-adult author. Her YA thriller Defriended drops next week—pre-order it now for $9, a.k.a., the cost of a latte in 2015. She’s also one of those girls who just knows everything cool (and, ok, weird!) a good six months before you do—if that doesn’t make you want to read on, we don’t know what will. —carlye wisel

Q: What’s the scariest or most bizarre thing that’s ever happened to you on the internet?
A: I am currently getting several Snapchats a week from these three teenage girls I don’t know. They have usernames with words like luv and lol in them, and I have no idea whether they know each other or if they think they’re Snapchatting one of their friends when they send me stuff. The ones I’ve viewed have all been totally G-rated. But there are 27 unopened photos on my phone, and I live in fear that I am going to wind up in jail because of them.

Q: If you could iChat with anyone from the dead, who would you pick and what would you talk about?
A: I’ve been wanting to write a story that takes place partly in a shtetl, and the research is really intimidating. If I could IM one of my great-great-grandmothers when she was 15, I would ask her about where she gets her cabbage and what her house looks like and who she has a crush on. And she would be like, “Uh, you can look at videos of wild creatures I’ve never even imagined before on this magical box. Are you seriously trying to have a conversation about cabbage right now?? And also what is a video? TTYL.”

Q: What’s the last thing you read that really amazed you?
A: The Orphan Master’s Son knocked my socks off, but I can’t recommend it without also recommending this incredible Catherine Chung essay on why some of the things that I found so imaginative and compelling about it are also kinda racist. I still think the story is brilliant and worth reading, but with some awareness that it’s just as much about American ideology as it is about North Korean oppression.  

Q: Do you own any Of a Kind editions?
A: Lots! The ones in heaviest rotation right now are the Mociun black diamond circle earrings, which were a gift from my parents, the Erica Weiner leopard lariat necklace, which was a gift from my brother, and the Cardigan by Lynne Hiriak Charlie sweater, which I bought for myself because I do what I want. My sentimental favorite is the Mandy Coon Ernie bunny bag both because it was their first edition and because I used to bunny-sit for the Ernie it was named after, may he rest in peace.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing on your bookshelf?
A: I moved about a year ago and got rid of a lot of junk I didn’t love. The best find was a self-help book called Succulent Wild Woman that had fallen behind a radiator. An old roommate who is still super into self-help had given it to me, and I probably shouldn’t make fun of it because who’s to say that all my problems wouldn’t be solved if only I were more succulent and wild?

Q: You have $200 and two hours off of work. What’s your game plan?
A: Helicopter tour! Getting my pilot’s license is in my five-year plan, but I’ve never flown in a helicopter. It’s crazy-expensive, which I don’t mind in theory, but it’s hard to hand over $150 to fight a tourist for a window seat and then only get 15 minutes in the air. That said, I have no problem spending $150 of *your* money that way. I’d probably blow the other $50 on candy at Duane Reade.     

Q: What’s the best thing you’ve ever gotten to write about?
A: Even though the six months I was working on Defriended were really rough due to crazy deadlines and being hilariously inexperienced, it is hands down the most fun I’ve ever had writing. Fiction is cool because you get to decide what you write about, so if Facebook murder mysteries are your thing, then nobody stops you from writing a Facebook murder mystery.

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The Insider: Sloane Crosley

We’ve been borderline obsessed with Sloane Crosley since simply hearing the title of her first book, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, so it’s no wonder the writer and all-around funny woman has only continued to woo us with her words and wisdom. Even if you’re a mega fan who’s well-versed in her miniature chicken collaboration, we betchya don’t know what she swears by on freezing cold winter days—or about the fuzzy skeletons she’s hiding in her closet. —carlye wisel

Q: What’s the last great thing you read?
A: I had minor heart palpitations reading Victor Zapana’s New Yorker essay, “Shaken.”

Q: As a writer—Twitter: yay or nay?
A: “Yay” but a kind of sarcastic fading “yaaaaay.”

Q: What three things are really buggin’ you these days?
A: My instinct here is to suggest that you don’t have enough time to listen to the list (am I right or am I right?), but not much comes to mind. I don’t like ombre hair. I don’t like music snobs. I don’t like the elevation of picky food consumption to the level of opera. I don’t like the obsession with things that no longer exist and yet I persist in telling people I “left a message on your answering machine.” I don’t like the weird spare change on my MetroCard or that we kind of skipped Fall this year. But overall? Obama won, family Thanksgiving was enjoyable, the country has a sex scandal to follow, and my power is back on.

Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Like Rainbow Brite and Wednesday Addams got in a fight and Rainbow Brite won.

Q: If you could have access to anyone else’s wardrobe, whose would you choose? Why?
A: I don’t know if I have one person. If someone sticks out at me at a party or on the street, it generally turns out that person is a stylist. Which makes me feel good about my fashion “eye” for half a second before I realize I’m rather hopeless by comparison. In the celebrity ether? Kate Moss. In real time? My friend Charlotte Kidd is always really well dressed.

Q: What’s your go-to, I-have-to-be-somewhere-in-10-minutes-and-look-dope outfit?
A: Black tights, high-waisted shorts, tall boots, and a bright silk shirt.

Q: Is there anything hanging in your closet that you’ve never had the guts to wear?
A: Yes. I didn’t feel like taking a picture so I just plugged in “Philippe Adec green coat” to Google and found this. Looks like someone is selling theirs on eBay so it too can be yours if you want it. I even had mine tailored at one point, and I still can’t wear it without feeling like Oscar the Grouch. And I guess I’d have to wear it with all black and international spy heels? I have no idea.

Q: What warm or cozy items do you rely on to get you through winter?
A: A scarf by A Peace Treaty that’s really a giant, soft blanky masquerading as a scarf.

Q: If you had a uniform, what would it be?
A: Air traffic controller or medical doctor.

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