The Big Idea: Paz Pardo

Writer Robert Benchley once noted that you can do anything, as long as it’s not the thing you’re supposed to be doing. Paz Pardo knows a little bit about that – in fact, it’s one reason why her colorful new novel The Shamshine Blind is now out in the world.


What if emotions were weaponized—literally? What if someone could shoot you full of envy, or ennui, or joy? What if you could feel giddy, teenage obsession just by taking a tab at a party? Would you ever trust your own feelings?

The Shamshine Blind happened because I ran out of books in an internet-less house in the Argentine Andes. I was a Playwright, who Wrote Theater. I’d just been accepted into playwriting grad school! But I’d discovered that I wrote best with a constant input of fun books with smart protagonists, weird worlds, and intricate plots. And here I was, working on a grim play about my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s and the Argentine dictatorship (great fodder for grant applications! Very hard to write!) and I’d run out of everything to read.

So I did the only thing I could think of—I started writing my own book. I had this idea for colorful weaponized emotions: psychopigments. Like paintball, but with feelings. I couldn’t shake the thought of chaos caused by jealous couples dosing each other with Envy Green. And once I started, the world kept growing. The main character, Kay Curtida, grew on me too.

Continued at: The Big Idea: Paz Pardo

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