Make sure you check out my reviews of Little Island and Her Sister's Shadow. Vanishing Time review will come soon.
Favorite color, food, drink and animal?
My favorite color is periwinkle: The color is ethereal, and the name old-fashioned and fun.
I could answer that my favorite food is any dish made by someone else. One of my guilty pleasures is reading cookbooks and food blogs (and menus). I’ve heard this referred to as “food porn,” which I think is apt. I wish I could say I get as much pleasure from cooking as I do from perusing, but I just don’t. So I like easy-to-assemble meals. Nothing beats a good grilled cheese sandwich with avocado. In summer months, I love Caprese salad made with homegrown tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and pesto. And then there’s dark chocolate… Good all by itself.
Favorite animal is the sea otter. Who wouldn’t want to wrap themselves in kelp and eat abalone? (Baby otters are like super-buoyant corks!)
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time I garden, watch birds, exercise, get together with friends, and read. I also volunteer at several wildlife rehabilitation clinics, feeding orphaned baby birds and taking owls out on glove to meet the public and talk with them about wildlife and conservation.
When/Why did you start writing?
I started writing professionally about sixteen years ago. I’d dabbled for many years before that, always wanting to be an author and never knowing quite how to go about it. Finally I got tired of hearing myself whine and entered a master’s program in creative writing. That intensive exposure to other writers, assignments, and deadlines seemed to jumpstart the process for me. I got an agent shortly after graduation and we sold Her Sister’s Shadow two years later.
What is your favorite writing spot?
That depends on where I am in the process. When I’m beginning a project (as I am now) I write long-hand, taking notes on characters and their motivations and goals, drafting scenes, drawing floor plans and timelines… This can happen anywhere, so if the weather is nice, I favor my back porch. When it comes to plotting, much of which happens in my head, the best venues are long drives or walks. Preferably with no one around as I’m apt to talk to myself. When all this pre-writing starts to feel like procrastination, I start a first draft and switch to the computer. For this I prefer my desk in my home office in Vermont.
Do you have writing routine?
Again, it depends on where I am in the process, but I try to write something every day. Four hours is optimal when I’m working on a first draft or revising but that’s not always achievable.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Geraldine Brooks, Louise Erdrich, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Kate Atkinson, Emma Donahue, Richard Russo, Kate DiCamillo, Katherine Applegate, Alan Bradley, Dorothy Sayers…
What are you currently (or last read) reading now?
I just finished Marissa Peshl’s Night Film. She’s a brilliant writer.
What is your favorite movie?
“To Kill a Mockingbird.” I’m so happy they’ve never done a remake or colorized it.
Which would you pick:
Ocean/beach or pool: Ocean/beach. I set all three of my novels by the ocean. Her Sister’s Shadow on the south shore of Boston, Little Island in Maine, and Vanishing Time in South Carolina’s Low Country. I find being by the water very soothing and love to try to capture the sounds, smells, colors, and feel of being by the water in my stories.
Coffee or tea: Coffee in the morning, iced coffee at midday, tea in the afternoon.
A book or e-book: I love the smell, look, and feel of a physical book. I think the design (font, paper choice and layout on the page) becomes part of the reader’s experience of a book. However, when I’m traveling, e-books are really convenient. And I usually have an audio book going in my car. With the right narrator, they are a joy.
Driving or Flying: I’ve come to like long drives. Flying used to be fun but just isn’t anymore: long waits, long lines, expensive food, crowds. It’s impersonal, stressful, and sometimes demeaning. Long drives can be tedious, and one can encounter traffic, but I’ve discovered that the detours suggested by Google maps to avoid traffic delays can take you through delightful towns and countryside.
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