Comet Speaks: Author Kimberly King Parsons BA’00, MA’04 Shares Her Current Must-Haves, Book Recommendation

By Melissa Graham  |  August 9, 2019

A West Texas native, Kimberly King Parsons grew up inspired by the landscape – or lack thereof – that surrounded her. Parsons’ roots are evident in her short story collection, Black Light, which debuts Aug. 13. The writer and UT Dallas alumna now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her partner and sons, and will embark on her first book tour this year with a stop at Interabang Books in Dallas on Aug. 20.

Most enjoyable book of the year?

I loved Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor. It’s funny, filthy and irreverent, and the prose is stunning.

Favorite app or gadget?

The dictation feature in the notes app. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and just force it out so I don’t forget. In the morning I wake up to this dreamy, bleary stuff that is sometimes very useful (and sometimes not!).

What Dallas restaurant is a must?

Bob’s Steak and Chop House on Lemmon. It was always the special occasion restaurant I’d go to with my family when I was growing up. I had graduations and birthdays there. I even had my first legal drink there — a dirty vodka martini, I remember it well. I love their jumbo shrimp scampi and wedge salad.

Go-to vacation spot?

I adore Iceland — the landscape is lunar and bizarre, and I feel instantly relaxed and clear-headed when I’m there.

Best advice for aspiring writers?

  1. Read, read, read. You need to know what’s happening in publishing now, but you also need to know where your work fits in or how it is subverting the canon.
  2. It’s a long game. You definitely don’t want to rush to publication because you can’t take it back. You will absolutely get better the longer you work at your craft.
  3. Once you feel ready to send things out, make it your goal to get 100 rejections a year. 

Most beneficial UTD class?

Dr. Robert Nelsen’s Intro to Creative Writing class. It introduced me to writers who definitely put me on a path to becoming a writer: Amy Hempel, Sandra Cisneros, Mary Gaitskill, Barry Hannah. Their work means everything to me. I took a graduate poetry class with Dr. Rainer Schulte that was also incredibly beneficial for my prose at the sentence level.

Stocked in your refrigerator at all times?

Sparkling water. It’s crazy, but I can’t stand regular water. I need that little kick.

What can readers expect from Black Light?

It took me more than 10 years to write this book, and I’m so glad I didn’t rush it. Black Light is about growing up strange in a strange landscape, and it’s about weirdos and outsiders and big-hearted screwups. The stories are dark, but never without hope.