Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Alabama. I honestly don't know how much it influenced my writing. Being poor and so aware of the socio-economic class distinctions probably formed at least a part of my overall awareness. I always read, my mother taught me to read before first grade (there was no pre-school or kindergarten where I lived) but I didn't read in an organized way that would have had much influence on my own writing. There were wonderful southern writers such as Walker Percy from Alabama but I didn't hear of him until I was in my mid-twenties so I probably got hold of him too late to absorb much influence from him. From about age ten until about twelve or thirteen, I had a serious science fiction addiction. I think I burned out on it from slurping down so much of it and I've never been tempted to write it myself. The educational system available to me during my formative years was just dismal and creative writing might as well have been quantum physics to my teachers. Oh, well, what're ya gunna do?