Sheltering: Ilana Masad on Writing a Good Sex Scene


On this episode of Sheltering, Maris Kreizman speaks with Ilana Masad about her new novel, All My Mother’s Lovers. The book centers on a queer woman named Maggie who, after her mother’s sudden death, discovers five sealed envelopes her mother left behind, each to a past lover. Maggie embarks on a road trip to deliver the letters and meet the men that her mother once knew and loved. Masad talks about coming to terms with our parents’ sexuality, how she knows when she’s writing a good sex scene, and book criticism in current times. Please purchase All My Mother’s Lovers from your favorite local bookstore, or through Bookshop.

From the episode:

Maris Kreizman: Tell me about writing a novel when you’re a book critic

Ilana Masad: I started out as a fiction writer. I was a writer first, and then I started to write criticism right around the same time I started getting published as a fiction writer. Like late college, I got a piece in Tin House, which was very exciting. That same year I published with the Lit Pub (not Lit Hub! Before Lit Hub existed)—anyway I started to realize that criticism is where I would be paid, though I kept writing both, kept trying to develop both. I became more known for, in my literary community, my criticism. I remember when someone introduced me as a book critic to someone, and I had this sinking feeling, because I thought I was a fiction writer! But I do love doing it, I love criticism, I love reviewing; I think it’s so important. But I remember that moment and deciding to be both.

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