This interview is via my pal Nicci, who also writes for the Wild Rose Press. Thanks, Nicci. I needed something new here!
What is your favorite project that you have completed? Why?
That has to be the three books in three months project I did in 2015. I had a new book coming out (Love and Death in Blue Lake), a print version finally of my first novel, only an e-book for so long (Sister Issues), and Amazon Encore re-issued the first in my Blue Lake series (Blue Heaven). I called in Woodward Press to help me get organized and having a team put together a publicity strategy was the most fun ever of my writing life.
If you had to pick one book to read while you were stranded for a long time on a desert island, what would it be?
I’d pick something long and complicated that I haven’t yet read but have heard endless good things about like Infinite Jest.
What do you do when you get stuck with a story or article to get unstuck about the story or article and going all the way to the end?
I’m a pretty organic writer, I just put pen to paper and the story flows. If it doesn’t, I read over what I’ve got so far, and deliberately plan out what needs to happen next, paying attention to character arc and conflict. I brainstorm scene ideas to get me where I need to go and this always dislodges me from the funk of being stuck.
Do you ever write with pen and paper? If so, why? If not, why not? What do you like more about writing on the computer or about writing longhand?
I write morning pages in a spiral notebook every morning. It’s not necessarily about the work in progress, but just venting about everything going on with me, like a diary. I love my time with my tea and notebook curled up in a cozy chair.
Who is your favorite character in literature?
Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice). I am totally looking forward to Curtis Sittenfeld’s update (Eligible) on my list to read this month!
Do you believe in “muses” or inspiration? If so, how do you cultivate the inspiration?
My inspiration has always come from other writers from Jane Austen to Jennifer Crusie.
What made you want to write?
I started with diaries as a young girl; it just sort of happened. I always loved to read though, which I think was a big influence. But really, back to the muses, I do think the goddess put her hand upon me (to paraphrase Barbara Samuel) when I was born and said “you will be a writer.” I’ve just always done it and can’t imagine ever stopping.
Do you prefer reading or writing fiction or nonfiction? Why?
I read a fair amount of non-fiction. I’m a fan of memoir and popular psychology of the self-help sort. But for sure prefer writing fiction. There’s a reason for this. I have had a troubled life–probably up to about age 30 things were not very smooth for me. There were some bright notes–my kids! Meeting my husband, Al! Until Al, life was not an easy go. I have often wanted to write about the things that have happened to me but I always come back to the people I love. I can’t hurt them by telling those stories. Most of my loved ones (except for my husband) have no idea of what I’ve gone through, and I don’t want them to know. I’ve written about some of my early trauma here on the blog, but mostly I’ve fictionalized my life. I like the challenge of starting with the seed of something real and developing it into something that is so far from my life but that still has that essential idea of a young person struggling against forces that would take her down.
What book, author (including blogger and journalist) has most influenced or inspired you?
So many. I’ve mentioned Jane Austen and Jennifer Cruise and Barbara Samuel, but also Geneen Roth and Sara Lewis, Alice Hoffman and Erica Jong. I adore Carol Shields and Margaret Atwood, Louise Erdrich and Anne Tyler. Marianne Williamson. Lorrie Moore.
What would be your favorite place to write if you could write anywhere in the world?
I like writing at home, so I’d have to have a home with an office that looked out to the Atlantic or the Pacific or the Gulf of Mexico in a spot on the map where snow doesn’t go. I may get there yet.