So it was no surprise that I missed Mrs. Littlefield calling us to circle time when I was so close to the end of my book. In third grade, though, tattle-tales abound, and another student soon pointed me out to Mrs. Littlefield. Sternly she called me over to her chair, where she was surrounded by the entire class. Her grim demeanor changed, however, when she saw my face streaked with tears. "What's the matter?" she asked. Sobbing, I jerkily informed her that I had just finished Old Yeller. She dropped her own book, opened her arms, and pulled me close. "Well, then, that makes perfect sense," she told me. "We all cry at Old Yeller."
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
This feels like a trick question, since Bury The Lead is all about connections, both real and manipulated. Which is fair, because I only have a trick answer. At face value, my work is primarily composed of stand-alone novels and poetry. However, the questions addressed by all of them are the same. How does love alter us and our reality? What is truth? What price will we pay for liberty - and can we even define what liberty is? What makes us human, and at what point do we leave our humanity behind? I write in many genres, but the questions - those tricky connections - remain the same.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Never let it be said I came late to my melodramatic sensibilities. I was in junior high when I first noted that my great - and ever unrequited - love, who was also a writer, was carrying around a big red-and-black hardbound book everywhere he went. Since true love means reading all the same books (yes, I scoured his library card records, and yes, I was a scary little stalker,) I of course set myself to discovering what it was. It turned out to be Roget's International Thesaurus, Fourth Edition. I saved up my birthday money and bought a copy of my own at the mall bookstore. I quickly discovered its many magical properties, and to this day, it sits ever at my side as I work. Most of the time I find that the word I want is the one already in hand, but just the flavor and feel of the words, sliding over my lips and into my mind, are a delight. And sometimes whole stories arise from the invocation of a single word.