I work early in the morning, before my nasty critic gets up - he rises about noon. By then, I've put in much of a day's work.
No one writes as slowly as I do, I'm convinced. It's so hard for me. I learn slowly; I make decisions at a snail's pace.
As authors evolve and try to trace the precedents that have shaped their work, it sometimes becomes a matter of identifying the shadowy figure in the back row of the mental photograph, or of grabbing at the tail of a memory that's just slipping out the window into thin air.
Reviewers have called my books 'novels in verse.' I think of them as written in prose, but I do use stanzas. Stanza means 'room' in Latin, and I wanted there to be 'room' - breathing opportunities to receive thoughts and have time to come out of them before starting again at the left margin.
The teenage years are the years to examine faith - the need to be independent and the need to be anchored. Who made all this? And what do I have to do with it?
My mother had no idea that her daughter would turn out to be a writer, but she would not let me go through a day of my childhood without music.
After clearing the land, planting the orchard, building the house and barn, and surviving the Great Depression, our father died suddenly one winter night when we were small, leaving us to learn about loss before we even knew its name.
I grew up in rural Oregon in a log house with bark left on inside and out. We had no electricity, a massive stone fireplace, a grand piano, and tons of books.
I've followed Brenda Bowen as she's moved from Henry Holt to Scholastic to Simon and Schuster to Hyperion and to HarperCollins. I have complete confidence that Brenda always knows the right questions to ask. I'm not sure another editor would be able to do that.
It's true that I had a bucolic, truly peaceful childhood, growing up in a house next to our family's orchard. We had a lot of books and art, but no electricity until I was eight years old. Since then, I have seen a lot of inner-city life, though.
Most people I know don't even realize I'm an award-winning author, but I have gotten many opportunities to travel to places I'd never have visited otherwise.
Shakespeare had found language for the agony of living with one's own mistakes. There were words for finding yourself isolated with your failures. Phrases for discovering that you were wrong, all, all wrong, wrong, wrong.
We're so mixed up about religion in this culture. We say the Pledge of Allegiance, 'under God indivisible,' but there's no prayer in the schools. I would be so untethered without my personal faith. I wouldn't be able to go through a day - but that's my own experience.
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