Author Interview: Kerry Winfrey

We're excited to welcome the author of Love and Other Alien Experiences, Kerry Winfrey, to Reading Lark today. 

photo copyright Alex Winfrey

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Why did you decide to write about an agoraphobe? 

Kerry: I wanted to write about anxiety in general because it’s something so, so many people deal with, and making Mallory afraid to leave her house was a way to really heighten the stakes and make her story much more compelling and specific. I’m an incredibly anxious person, so it was easy for me to put myself in Mallory’s head and figure out how she was feeling in any given situation. Anxiety in general, if not agoraphobia specifically, is something that a lot of people can relate to, so hopefully they’ll see a little bit of themselves in Mallory. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What are three things you have in common with Mallory? 

Kerry: 1) We're huge worriers. 
 2) We’re both super close with our brothers (but I have two!). 
 3) We both think David Duchovny is a total babe. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Who was your high school crush? 

Kerry: My high school life was basically like that Teen Girl Squad Video: "I have a crush on every boy!"

Crushes are fun and I've always loved them, probably a little bit too much. Despite not really dating in high school, I still managed to develop a ton of (VERY unrequited) crushes that required some pretty intense journaling. But I wouldn't want to “out” any of my real-life crushes, so instead I'll name one of my biggest high school celebrity crushes: Zach Galifianakis. Is it weird that a 17 year old had a big crush on a bearded comedian? Maybe, but I did. I had his picture hanging in my locker (obviously, I was very cool). 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What are three songs on Mallory's playlist? 

Kerry: This one is hard, because Mallory spends so much time on the internet that she would probably listen to all sorts of underground bands I’ve never heard of. But here are few songs with lyrics that I think would really speak to her: 
 1) Deer by Natalie Prass. It’s a song that (to me) is all about feeling out of place, like life is passing you by, and wanting to find home. All of those are feelings that Mallory definitely has. It's a song that's a little sad but sounds hopeful at the same time. 
 2) Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order. This song is all crushes and excitement to me, and Mallory is for sure into 80s music. She’s terrible at sharing her feelings, so she’d relate to the lyrics, “I’m waiting for that final moment/you say the words that I can’t say.” 
 3) I Wish You Would by Taylor Swift. Okay, so Mallory wouldn’t be caught dead listening to T. Swift in public, but I think she would listen to this one secretly. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: It's a tradition to ask - What is your favorite bird? 

Kerry: Cardinals. They’re Ohio’s state bird, they’re bright, and seeing them always reminds me of Charley Harper’s artwork.

About the Book

In this heartwarming debut by HelloGiggles blogger Kerry Winfrey, a young agoraphobe begins a journey of first love that leads her to the true meaning of home—just by taking one small step outside of her house. 

My name is Mallory Sullivan.

My therapist says I have an anxiety disorder.

My brother says I’m an “optimistic recluse.”

Everybody else says I'm a freak.

And they kind of have a point, because I haven't left the house in 67 days and only attend class via the webcam on my laptop. The person I talk to the most other than my mom and brother is the completely obnoxious BeamMeUp, and all we do is argue on New Mexico’s premiere alien message board.

But after yesterday, I have something: a chance. If I can win the homecoming crown by convincing resident hot popular guy and Friday Night Lights spawn Brad Kirkpatrick to go as my date, then maybe #stayathome will never appear next to the name @Mallory_Sullivan ever again. 

First, I have to leave my room. 

About the Author

Kerry Winfrey grew up in Bellville, Ohio, where she spent most of her time reading inappropriate books at the library. Not much has changed. Kerry writes for HelloGiggles and blogs at She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and their dog, Merlin. You can find her on Twitter @KerryAnn.