Anna North was born in Williamsburg, Virginia and grew up in Los Angeles. She graduated from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 2009, having received a Teaching-Writing Fellowship and a Michener/Copernicus Society Fellowship. Her fiction has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, where it was nominated for a National Magazine Award, and in Glimmer Train. Her nonfiction has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Common, The Paris Review Daily, Jezebel, and on BuzzFeed, where she is now a Senior Editor. She lives in Brooklyn.
I wrote America Pacifica because I was excited about the end of the world. Not excited to see it happen, necessarily, but excited to think about it, excited to read about it, and excited to watch it on TV. I loved Battlestar Galactica, Children of Men, Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest – anything set in the future, especially if that future found society as we know it in decline or fall. I liked to think about the end of things because that was when humans would all be tested, when they would have to use skills they’d never been taught and hang together with people they never thought they’d know. I wrote America Pacifica because I wanted to talk about these kinds of tests, and also about how, through them, a person can become a hero.
Here are some things that I put into early drafts of the book but later had to take out: packs of wild dogs, a giant underwater lake, a highly organized team of semi-evil Girl Scouts, a scary story that drives an entire island crazy, a type of sword that plugs right into the user’s hand, an old man with a wound in his side, and a girl with pterodactyl wings. Many people have told me they wish these parts were still in the book. Sorry guys -- maybe next time.