I write magic realism and urban and contemporary fantasy. For me, good writing is infused with courage. The very best of it makes you catch your breath and laugh like a kid going downhill on roller skates. I want to be a little shaken up by what I write. I need to wonder 'what will people think?' But only when those hair-raising moments prove to be integral to the plot do they get to stay. There must be story, and breathless moments; colour and fire. There must be characters I want to know, who become so real to me that I miss them when I am not writing. My objective is that a book not be an object in your hands, but a place you want to go. A book should add to your life; part vacation and part wonderful dream.
What is your writing process?
Writing is my passion but in this instance I treat it as my job. I write, pretty much no matter what. As in, I have fewer sick days from writing than I have from any traditional 9-5 job. I don't believe in waiting for inspiration. I think writing is like playing an instrument - you practice on good and bad days. You keep your skills up so that you are ready when the big ideas come.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee because it captures the best and worst of humanity at a potent point in American history We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson because no one can create psychological tension like Jackson Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote because it's as Southern Gothic as can be and because it never shirks the darkness of growing up Beloved by Toni Morrison because it is unrelentingly beautiful, unrelentingly sad and gives the reader no place to hide A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley because it explodes one of the archetypal myths of an American childhood: that of the heroic farmer.
A magical realism, coming of age story with the grit of an urban novel and the color of an underground comic book. Prepare to laugh and cry while holding on to this magic carpet ride of a book with both hands. Experience enduring love, feisty hope and the power of a rampant imagination as these unforgettable characters band together to close down the chemical factory that's ruining their world.