Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. Yesterday, my daughter read Beauty of the Broken, and she told me laughingly that she loved it, but I'd traumatized her. So I guess I'm a little heavy-handed with the tragedy.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Write. I teach writing, and all of my students want to know how to get published, but very few of them are interested in learning how to write. Writers write. Write, and the publishing will come.
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. The Sound and the Fury. Sometimes, I like books that are like puzzles--you really have to think to figure them out, and you see something new every time you read them. Then again, sometimes, I just like to read dessert novels that have no substance or redeeming academic/social value whatsoever.
Q. What were your previous occupations?
A. I've done so many things. I was a kindergarten teacher for a while. I was an actor for a long time, and still am when I can find the time for it. I worked as a standardized patient for a while, which means I basically let medical students practice on me. I've done many things, but the most beloved will always be writing.