Where are you from?
I was born and raised in upstate New York, on the edge of Lake Ontario, but now I’m in Colorado. It’s lovely out west, but I miss the water!
Tell us your latest news?
The Semester of Our Discontent is coming out in April. :)
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve written stories and poems as far back as I can remember. My grandmother was a writer—she never submitted her work for publication, but she was always writing poems and stories, and she inspired me to do likewise...we’d mail them to each other when I was growing up.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always had an unquenchable need to write things down. I never tried to submit anything for publication until I was in grad school, but in fifth or sixth grade, my teacher let me write, illustrate, and distribute a school newsletter—maybe to keep me from driving him crazy with questions about when we were going to Do More Writing. That was pretty exciting.
What inspired you to write your first book?
In order to finish the PhD, I had to write a dissertation, and a revised version of that eventually became my first book (on Margaret Atwood). But I had the idea for The Semester of Our Discontent before that—it came to me when I was in the middle of writing a term paper. I jotted it down in my journal and, fifteen years later, I finally wrote it.
Do you have a specific writing style?
It varies from project to project, genre to genre. But the fiction projects I write do tend to have a similar style...not sure how to describe it, though. Maybe: it’s more light than dark, more satirical than not, and pairs well with Twizzlers?
How did you come up with the title?
When I submitted the book, it was called Lectured to Death. However, there’s another author with my publisher who already has a series with titles ending in “to death,” so they asked me to change it. I wrestled with the list of potential titles I’d (luckily) scribbled down over the years of writing the book until adapting “Now is the winter of our discontent...” from Shakespeare’s Richard III. Lila has a confrontation with a Shakespearean right away, and the semester goes downhill from there, so it seemed appropriate.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I hope some of the issues raised are thought-provoking—for example, how the “value” of authors/books is determined and what implications arise from that.
What would you like my readers to know?