Q & A with
How did you read when growing up?
I was that classic reader kid--the one with her nose constantly stuck in a book. I can’t remember my earliest books, but I certainly remember the Oz books, the Laura Ingalls Wilder years, and a pretty solid Roald Dahl obsession.
What were your favorite books?
The first book that really changed my life was The Lord of the Rings, which I read when I was about thirteen. After that, it was The Outsiders and Go Ask Alice. These were the first novels that changed how I saw the world, expanded my view of life, and challenged me to think for myself.
Which books inspired you to become a writer?
There are too many to mention, really, but I would say that early on, Pat Conroy and Anne Rice taught me about scope and vision and character development.
Which characters in fiction are your favorites?
Hmmm. Sam Gamgee still, after all these years, remains the character that stays with me, always. Quietly heroic and stubbornly loyal and unfailingly honest. He’s the character that allows Frodo to be the hero he’s destined to be. After that, Hermoine Granger, Jane Eyre, Lisbeth Salander, Clarice Starling, The Man in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and Scarlett O’Hara.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
The common wisdom is the best and is absolutely true: read everything you can, all the time, write every day if possible, take classes, find someone to read your work that you trust, and most importantly, believe in the possibility of success and never give up. You only actually fail when you stop trying.