Tabs open on your screen right now:
An Etsy listing for a nameplate necklace, a document with the beginnings of an essay about leaving Brooklyn but loving it forever, and Gmail (always).
If you had to brag about yourself:
I wrote my first book when I was 18! It was a collection of super emo, somewhat autobiographical short stories. I printed all these spiral-bound copies at Kinko’s.
Your writer crush:
Jesmyn Ward. I’ll read anything she writes. Also, Edwidge Danticat. My friend, Meghan Flaherty, wrote a book about tango, and I admire her fierce, generous spirit, on and off the page, so much.
I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart. Lately, I’m super into “Elastic Heart” by Sia—it’s all about vulnerability and fighting for the kind of life and joy that you want.
Any place in the world:
Paris, on the Seine, at dusk.
A toasted everything bagel with scallion cream cheese and tomato. A big iced coffee.
Least impressive thing about you:
I’ve got really basic taste in TV. I watch Master Chef Junior, Jane the Virgin, or This Is Us—you know, stuff that’s going to make me cry and swoon.
Favorite space to write:
I’ve got a desk at home that faces a window. It’s quiet, sunny, and I can keep the dog with me while I work. And I don’t have to pay for coffee or tea!
What should we know:
My debut novel, Halsey Street, is out this month! It’s about gentrification and how it shapes people’s lives and losses. It’s also about duty to family, mothers and daughters, and trying to make your life as an artist. You should read it!
Best book nobody talks about:
Danny the Champion of the World seems to be a forgotten Roald Dahl book, but it’s my favorite.It’s weird and tender and full of adventure.
Character (TV, book, movie) you most identify with:
Buffy! As a teenager, I so often felt like I was literally battling the forces of darkness. Buffy is tough, witty, brave, devoted to her friends. She’s aspirational for me—I, too, want to slay all day.
Last time you lied:
A pair of friends came over around 9 am to drop off their keys so I could stop by and feed their cat while they were away. I was still in my pajamas.
“No, no, we weren’t asleep—we’re just having a lazy morning.”
Question you secretly want to be asked:
Who are your dream dinner party guests, and is it all right if we go ahead and set up a dinner party for you all to attend together?
Jesmyn Ward, Jacqueline Woodson, FKA Twigs, Morgan Parker, Ava Duvernay, Edwidge Danticat, Roxane Gay, Rihanna, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Shonda Rhimes, and yes, please, go ahead and throw the party; I’ll be there, and I’m bringing the rosé.
Naima Coster is the author of Halsey Street, a novel of loss, memory, and family set in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Catapult, the Rumpus, A