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    Cole, 29, wrote the young-adult dystopian novel Panther in the Hive and its sequel, The Rooster’s Garden. She's currently working on a YA sci-fi series. She lives in St. Matthews "for now" while apartment-hunting.

    Earliest childhood memory?
    “We had just moved to Louisville. I was four-ish. A neighbor girl was showing me her dolls, and I remember thinking, ‘Can’t we play with your dog instead?’”

    What song’s been stuck in your head lately?
    “‘Losing You’ by Solange Knowles. It always comes in my head when I’m trying to remember the great story idea I had right as I was going to sleep the night before.”

    When/where are you most creative?
    “When I’m surrounded by a very specific kind of noise. I started writing fiction in Chicago on the city bus, and now public transportation is where I get my best writing done.”

    How’d you make your first dollar?
    “Writing children’s stories for the National Reading Styles Institute. I was 11 or 12 when I got my first check.”

    The weirdest place somebody has recognized you in public?
    “A car pulled up to a bus stop in Chicago and a guy leaned out the window. I thought this was going to be a harassment scenario and was preparing to curse him out when he said, ‘Hey, I like your writing.’ And drove off. Thank you, Honda driver. I never got to tell him.”

    In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
    “I hunt for shadows and embrace them.”

    Who’s doing big things in Louisville under the radar? 
    “Kristen Williams is a community storyteller in west Louisville, and she’s opening a very important bookstore called Blackberry Books and Coffee. Her goal is to provide literature and programming to uplift children of color. I think she’s an angel.” 

    Besides your current job, what’s the best job you’ve ever had? 
    “My best job was a terrible job: I was a concierge for a high-end shopping mall in Chicago. It inspired so much of my first book, so I have to be grateful.”

    Favorite possession? 
    “I have a yak made of wool that sits on my desk. I have no idea why I love it so much, but he reminds me of me.”

    Your favorite thing hanging on the walls of your home?
    “A painting by Kush Thompson from her self portrait: blk hottie series.”

    What’s on your nightstand?
    “Too many books. And too many cups of water. I’m like the kid from Signs.”

    What are you wearing right now?
    “A red shirt with a representation of TLC’s CrazySexyCool album on it. I am none of those things, but I love them and the shirt.”

    What Louisville dish have you eaten more than any other?
    “I’ve been gone too long to know what constitutes a ‘Louisville dish,’ so instead I will tell you what Louisville restaurant I have eaten at more than any other: Con Huevos. The huevos rancheros are the best I’ve ever had.”

    If Actors Theatre staged a production about your life, what would the performance be called?
    Pigeon-Toed and Angry: A Memoir.

    Favorite Derby winner?
    “Is this a trick question to prove what a bad Louisvillian I am? I don’t think I could name a single Derby winner even if I had a gun to my head.”

    Best book you’ve read over the past year? 
    “Zadie Smith’s Swing Time is about two biracial girls who are dancers and the paths they take in life. Incredible observations about people and the self.”

    Have any tattoos?
    “Several. But my favorite is an owl with a thought bubble containing a heart. I think it sums me up.”

    The last thing you bought online?
    “A maternity dress that, when it arrived, proved to be the most hideous article of clothing I’ve ever put on my body.”

    One thing Louisville is missing?
    “The same thing that all of Kentucky is missing: a governor and senators who care about Kentuckians.”

    Something unexpected you love in Louisville? 
    “The drivers. After living in Florida and seeing what truly terrible driving looks like, I really appreciate Louisvillians’ efforts to use their turn signals.” (Didn’t know that kind of Louisvillian existed — Ed.) 

    What makes somebody a Louisvillian?
    “I just got back, so I don’t think it’s for me to say just yet. Ask me in a couple years if I stay.” 

    PLUS 8 MORE....

    What/who makes you laugh?
    “My husband. I’m the only one who knows how funny he is.”

    Can’t-miss TV show?
    “Queen Sugar, hands down.”

    Least favorite word?
    Sandwich. I said what I said.”

    What are your vices?
    “Chicken and IBC root beer.”

    What should every person try once?
    “Telling themselves the truth.”

    What superstition do you believe in?

    Favorite movie scene?
    “When Shug Avery sings ‘Miss Celie’s Blues’ in The Color Purple.

    If you could write it yourself, what would your headstone say?
    “She tried.”

    This originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here. To find your very own copy of Louisville Magazine, click here. 

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