photo: Adrian Bacolo

Name: Laura Carney 

Where do you live? Montclair

When did you move there? February 2010

Where did you grow up? Wilmington, Delaware

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion? In addition to writing my book, My Father’s List, I freelance for Conde Nast, People magazine and Guideposts as a copy editor, among other places (textbooks, St. Martin’s Press). I worked full-time for Good Housekeeping for seven years. 

My passion is (also on Instagram). I am checking off 54 items from my dad’s bucket list in only four years. I’m in Year Four now. He was killed by a distracted driver—a teen making a phone call—when I was 25. We found the bucket list, which nobody knew about, 13 years later. I’m writing a book about the experience, and I’ve been interviewed by Inside Edition and CBS News as well as local places, like Montclair State. I’ve done several radio shows, podcasts and interviews and have written about it for Good Housekeeping, among other places. I’ve also worked with safe driving groups, including Families for Safe Streets here in New Jersey.

Coffee, tea or … ? Coffee! But I love tea, too.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? I’m usually up late as a writer, so it probably starts at 10 a.m. My husband’s a great vegan cook, so he’s made breakfast (likely tofu scramble). On my perfect weekend day we are away somewhere for my project—we’ve spent lots of weekends the past three years in places like London, New Orleans, St. Thomas (that was the most recent), Georgia (to meet Jimmy Carter!). But I’m enjoying my weekend mornings here in Montclair, too. 

My favorite weekends in Montclair are during the Film Festival, so after breakfast, we’d check out whatever movies we’d signed up for, then get a snack at Montclair Vegan, then walk around Avis Campbell Gardens, then run a few miles in Anderson Park (these days, we’re running every road of Montclair for my husband’s Every Single Street project), get dinner at our favorite restaurant, Veggie Heaven (I feel like we’re best friends with the owner, we’re there so much), and then come home and watch James Bond movies all night (we’ve been bingeing since February—it was my research for checking off “own a black tux,” which I purchased from Roz at Coco an Experience).

What’s your favorite local restaurant? Veggie Heaven! I love the Veggie Heaven Roll and the Caribbean Soy Chicken Burger. 

What’s on your nightstand? Right now? Walden by Thoreau and A Fire in the Mind, the Life of Joseph Campbell. Also a bunch of free night creams I got when I worked for Good Housekeeping.

What are you listening to? A lot of Queen these days

What are your current indulgences? I’ve weirdly become infatuated with everything bagels for breakfast…I’ve been documenting every day of the pandemic and every breakfast, which probably nobody cares about, but it keeps me sane. I genuinely look forward to waking up and making that bagel.

What talent you would most like to have? Writing music. I can write all sorts of things, but music has never been one of them. I’m relearning piano so I can check off “play piano or guitar” and “have five songs recorded.” Music runs in my blood—my dad was a singer. I just wish I could write it.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? Hmmm…I only really discovered the Van Vleck House and Gardens last year and I love it. The wisteria this time of year are beautiful. I hope I can go visit it again soon.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? She was brave.