Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve been writing since I was 12! And acting since I was 5. I’ve written 2 novels–Priest Kid and You Can’t Get There from Here (under consideration). I’ve also written two screenplays…Saint John the Divine in Iowa, which won the 2015 Meryl Streep Lab, Run from Fire, which was a finalist for the 2016 Half the World Literati Award and a 3rd undisclosed project as a writer for hire. I also write plays. My full length play They Named Us Mary won me a scholarship to Brandeis University, and then was produced in Boston. Murder by Psychotherapy was produced at Sarah Lawrence College, My Mother and the Nun won the Eleanor and Stanley Lipkin Prize in Playwriting, the play version of Saint John the Divine in Iowa got great reviews in Boston. I’ve also competed as a slam poet, been nominated for a Pushcart in fiction…I find that certain stories won’t let me go, and I trawl around until I find the right genre for the characters.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Priest Kid. I was originally inspired by an actual priest kid–the son of an Episcopal priest who was my colleague and the director of photography on a short film I directed. But then I started interviewing Episcopal priests and their families and I fell in love…with the beauty of their struggles toward goodness, with the exceptional burdens of their lives, with the search for meaning which is all too evident in their lives…and with how their families put up with their higher calling.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I laugh at my own jokes. I can’t help it. Sometimes I sit at the computer, write a line, laugh, then write another, then practically fall out of my chair. I have also been known to sit there crying while I write the tragic scenes. It’s the actor in me…
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My greatest influence by far is James Baldwin. I think he writes about three layers deeper than anyone else, and the poetry in his books sings you awake. I also love Jane Smiley…both her big comic novels like Horse Heaven and A Thousand Acres. I love that she borrowed the plot from King Lear and turned it on its head.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing a web series called 100 Ways to Write Your Own Eulogy Dot Com. It’s about a suicidal eulogy writer, her porn-obsessed stock broker husband who’s lost his mojo, and their transgendered teenage child. It’s a comedy. I swear. It really is funn!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Outside of this one? Facebook, Twitter and IndieAuthor. But Kirkus will release a review in May…let’s see what that does.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write to find your own voice, to give the world what only you can give. The work comes first, and the joy we find in it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t push the river.
What are you reading now?
Sharon Shinn. I’m a sucker for fantasy.
What’s next for you as a writer?
A one woman show about my 30 year relationship!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Another Country by James Baldwin
Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley
Fire and Hemlock by Dianna Wynne Jones
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip