Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve written four books: a novel, two short story collections, and most recently a memoir. I was an editor for a long time before I became a writer, though I’d always wanted to do it.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is The Secret Life of Objects. I lost both of my parents very suddenly, and while I was cleaning out my mom’s house and looking at all the objects, I realized that our possessions really hold the stories of the people we’ve loved, the places we’ve been, and the lives we’ve lived. I started writing about some of my treasured objects—many handed down or inherited, some a little goofy, many that would have no value to anyone else—and realized that together my objects made up a memoir, and that it seemed like something that would resonate with a lot of other readers. My son illustrated the book.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I like to read what I’ve written aloud—is that unusual? I have two jobs and two kids, so there’s always the question of when to write. My work is very compressed, and this might be why!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I hate to deflect the question, but I think everything we read and take in influences us. My all-time favorite books are the great Russian novels, but I don’t write anything like them!
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a novel that’s kicking my butt, and I don’t dare say more.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t give up. But persistence doesn’t mean just grinding it the same way when it’s not working. So maybe the better advice is, keep learning.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t be afraid to fall on your keister.
What are you reading now?
A wonderful collection by Jen Michalski that will be published this fall, called From Here.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I don’t know. That’s what makes it interesting!
What is your favorite book of all time?
War & Peace