Annie Dillard has really effected me. Also, Jonathan Safran Foer, Dave Eggers, Jeannette Walls. Definitely Tony Morrison and Cormac McCarthy.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, It was a song about a person who sweeps mice out of houses called "Broom Sweeper." Pretty horrible narrative, but at six years old many absurd things are found to be endearing.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I've been much more active. I'm really into yoga and long walks (however, Nashville is really bad about sidewalks). I love our local theater "The Belcourt" as well. Often, I hide out in "Book Man, Book Woman" and lust over all the titles I haven't read yet.
What is your writing process?
I put myself on an intense writing schedule, purge out the project in two months, spend two more months editing, let my husband read it, and if I decide it's actually worth pursuing I'll spend the next five months on a first/second draft.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Nursery rhymes—I never told anyone, but they made me feel kind of sad. I've always liked that juxtaposition, though.
How do you approach cover design?
I close my eyes and ask myself what image would describe the essence of the book.
What do you read for pleasure?
Typically literary fiction.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
So far, directly emailing people.
Describe your desk
a Typewriter to my left with a photograph and old letters resting in the paper table. Two empty sake bottles covered with dripped wax and sitting on "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "Go Set a Watchman"—two books I still haven't read yet. A tiny woven basket from Kaihura, Uganda. Along with copies, a manuscript, tissues, and an oil diffuser.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Western North Carolina. I was home schooled and spent much of my time outside. That wildness and solitude influences my writing quite a lot.
What's the story behind your latest book?
A boy tries to make sense of a world where good and evil strongly influence his identity.
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