This changes all the time, but for good solid favourites I’d say Toni Morrison and Annie Proulx. I also just rediscovered Russell Banks who is a terrific writer. YA writers David Almond and Meg Rosoff are also favourites.
2.Who has had a major influence on your writing?
I don’t think I’d cite a particular writer as being an influence. All the books I’ve read—good and bad—over my life have fed into my writing in one way or another.
3.Can you name at least one book that you never finished?
There are too many to name, and to do so would be unkind. I’m somewhat impatient and have a very large stack of books by my bed, so if something hasn’t grabbed me within 30 pages I usually move on.
4.What word or words do you always have trouble spelling?
I’ve lived in England for nearly 7 years now, but being American, I still go through the US vs. UK spelling conundrum regularly. See the word “favourites” in question #1. I went back and forth about including the “u” several times!
5.What three adjectives best describe you?
Persistent, irreverent, and whatever the adjective is for ‘person with uncontrollable hair”
6.Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
I think there’s a little bit of me in all the characters in Tell the Wolves I’m Home. June’s geekiness and preoccupations are mine, Finn’s perfectionism with gift giving, Greta’s snarkiness, Toby’s irreverence.
7.Which author would you invite to dinner?
I wouldn’t. I’m an awful hostess.
8.Where do you write?
I would love to write in coffee shops or anywhere but my pokey little office (I think it may have been a closet at some point) but I can’t seem to concentrate anywhere else. I end up drinking too much coffee and eavesdropping.
9.When do you write?
When the kids are at school.
10.What makes you happy?
It makes me happy to see the people around me happy and at peace with themselves and the world.
11.What do you most fear?
I try not to fear anything. What will be will be.
12.What is your favorite vice?
Doritos + diet coke + a boxed set of HBOs latest long running series
13.What is the quality you most like in yourself?
Honesty and persistence.
14.What are the qualities you most like in your friends?
Kindness, generosity and above all, honesty.
15.Would you be lying if you said your works were not autobiographical?
As I said above, there’s a little bit of me in all my characters and the setting (in name only, not really in detail) is similar to the place I grew up. Other than that, the story is completely fictional. None of the events are at all similar to things that have happened to me.
16.What part of your personality do you detest?
I am overly critical of myself and others.
17.What is your favorite adjective?
It’s one from my daughter, often directed at me--- “cringey”
18.What is your favorite book?
My inclination is to say I won’t name just one, but then The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer fits the bill. It is a perfectly beautiful book. It’s one that can be read by kids or adults. Timeless, warm-hearted and wonderful.
19.What book would you read three times?
Any of the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel. I never re-read adult books.
20.To whom would you award the Nobel Prize for Literature and why?