I am working on a novel tentatively called "Grass Stuffed Tires", about growing up in Kenya in the 70s riding motorcycles. Where "Belonging in Africa" examines the joys and heartaches of young love, this new story is about friends fearlessly tearing through the known world on two wheels, and adventures that happen along the way.
What is your writing process?
General consensus is that the writing process requires rigid self-control and consistency: the writer must write every day, preferably at the same time, sitting at the same desk. I am different. I do not write every day (at least, not creatively), and I work wherever (Starbucks, at my desk, on the road) and whenever the urge strikes. I never sit at the keyboard unproductively staring down writer's block, or watching the clock, wishing I was done for the day. When I write, I write with joy, with all my heart.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Mrs. Mull's 4th grade at the International School Bangkok. We were learning about adjectives. The assignment was to write descriptively in short sentences, with an adjective in each. I saw in my mind's eye a little brown squirrel, scampering up a tinkling, icy branch. The scene was a lifetime removed from the sweltering tropics where I sat putting pencil to paper. It may not have been the first story I ever wrote, but it was the moment I fell in love with writing, and with the limitless horizons where writing could take me.
How do you approach cover design?
Covers are immensely important. I remember the days of record albums, and how the beautiful and innovative cover art was an enhancement of the music, as well as something to be enjoyed on its own merit. With my publications, I have been very lucky to work with young artists who took my words and translated them into original and eye-catching visuals that supported and expanded on my story.
Describe your desk
I bought my desk at Ikea - stylish and affordable. The top is milk glass with a delicate flower pattern etched around the edge, supported by a trestle from which it is easily lifted. The whole desk is therefore fairly mobile. Perfect for my always nomadic life.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work as a freelance translator (Dutch to English). If there's a document waiting for my attention, that takes priority. I exercise (almost) every day, which is not a chore, because there is nothing more delightful than wandering through the hills of my high desert home with the sun shining overhead. Travel, near and far, is my passion. I am an amateur shutterbug. My 2010 Triumph Scrambler is my pride and joy, and I ride whenever I can.
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