Los Angeles Times

Chelsey Johnson walks the 'Stray City' streets of Portland, Ore., with Carrie Brownstein

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - Chelsey Johnson still suffers from punk damage. Just ask Carrie Brownstein.

Johnson, who grew up in northern Minnesota before moving to Portland, Ore., in the early aughts, draws on that experience in her debut novel, "Stray City," which subverts expectations around the coming-out narrative. In Johnson's book, a young woman leaves the Midwest for Portland's underground lesbian scene only to find herself pregnant after a drunken one-night-stand with a man. Despite the concerns of her shocked circle of gay friends, she decides to have the baby.

Johnson teaches at the College of William and Mary in Virginia and is a writer on Brownstein's upcoming television show, "Search and Destroy." They spoke to The Times before an appearance at the West Hollywood Library to discuss "Stray City." The conversation has been edited.

Q: You mentioned that at a recent book tour event

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