Author Archives

Monica Drake
Monica Drake is the author of the novels Clown Girl, and the Stud Book, as well as the linked story collection, The Folly of Loving Life. Her work has been featured in the New York Times (Modern Love), the Paris Review Daily, Oregon Humanities Magazine, Northwest Review, the Rumpus and other publications. She designed and launched the BFA in Writing at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, in Portland, Oregon.

Doomed in Nashville

Scott Boehm via AP

Monica Drake | Longreads | March 2018 | 19 minutes (4,778 words)


When my second novel came out, Chuck Palahniuk invited me, along with best-selling thriller writer and friend Chelsea Cain, to share his book tour. We’d make a joint venture of it.

Chuck is established, the author of the novel Fight Club, of course … “and 15 other books,” as he says. We’ve workshopped together for decades. A tour with Chuck would be a roving literary rave! My only hesitation? At 8 years old, my daughter was still young. She wasn’t a baby; still, I was her daily support.

Her father spent long days earning an hourly wage, leaving our house mid-morning and coming back too late to manage her life. A 40-minute commute on public transit added to his workday. He regularly stopped off at a bar before he made it all the way to the house.

When my first novel, Clown Girl, came out, she was a toddler. I’d brought her along on a homespun, couch-surfing road trip of a tour. She and I darted every which way in an old Nissan sedan, sharing bags of chips and sleeves of Oreos, driving between small towns. We met fabulous people. In other words, I juggled indie lit and parenting, and managed without childcare because as a family, we ran on a very slim budget.

Consequently? She attended 43 readings in 52 weeks, pre-kindergarten. It was boot camp; she learned to sit quietly and color while grown-ups did their thing. She learned patience.

This round, my daughter would stay with her grandmother — and she’d be fine — but still I had a clutch of apprehension. If anything were to go wrong, I’d be across the country, reading stories, tipping up a drink, laughing with strangers. The mother-guilt was thick and ready.

Hesitantly, I released myself, temporarily, from the obligations of daily parenting, and went, joining the team.
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My Date with Hollywood

Illustration by Annelise Capossela

Monica Drake | Longreads | October 2017 | 14 minutes (3,538 words)


A hot Hollywood beauty optioned the film rights to my first novel, Clown Girl, then, months later, invited me out for dinner. Specifically, her people emailed my people — me.

Her agent asked if I’d be interested and available.

I was home alone when I got the message, and beyond interested. I was instantly dizzy, maybe sleep-deprived, over-caffeinated. I grabbed the back of a chair, knocking over a paper cup of cold coffee on our cluttered dining table. I teach English Composition at a small, private art school and I write. I’m a full-time mom with a full-time job and a full-time writing career on the side, wherever “the side” is. I live in a sea of student essays, department meetings, administrative work, my own pages of writing, submission, acceptance, rejection, my daughter’s projects and a lot of late nights at the computer. This Miss Hollywood, of course, is a movie star.

Now she’d reached out to me — she, this writer and actress, a woman said to have “single-handedly reinvented [the] romantic comedy formula,” hailed as a “comedic genius” by more than one publication.


I didn’t check my calendar. I’d make time. Morning, noon, night, I’d be in town. When opportunity knocks, right? “Yes,” I emailed back, tapping the single word into my phone. Coffee dripped to our worn floorboards.

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