You never know when some small thing will lead to a big idea. Travel is very inspirational - but it's in the ordinary that I find my themes of love and work and family.
Motherhood changes everything.
I come from hardworking, determined people on both sides of my family... the kind who live with a hard reality from which much strength comes.
I love rhinestones, faux jewelry.
And so, when I was a young writer I always worked hard on imagery, and I knew that the roots of imagery were the senses - and that if my readers could feel, taste and see what I was talking about, I would be able to tell them a story.
But the most precious research to me came from the paperwork filed on behalf of my grandparents and great-grandfather. The ship's manifest showed that they could read and write. I am still emotional when I look at those boxes checked yes.
I loved to read, still do, and it seemed that the writing was a result of the love of books and reading and libraries.
If there is one thing I hope my books do always and forever, it's that they honor working people.
Book clubs are the best thing that has happened to the world of publishing.
I fell in love with reading when I was allowed to choose whatever books I wanted to check out of the library. I was around nine years old when I began choosing my own books in earnest.
I have held the following jobs: office temp, ticket seller in movie theatre, cook in restaurant, nanny, and phone installer at the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
Everything has to be clean and orderly when I sit down to write. I have candles going, and small objects that remind me of what I am working on, or bring me into the world of the character.
Food is so important - it sustains us, it provides a social focal point, and it is fun. I cannot unravel the difference between love in my family and the preparation of food because they are so closely woven.
I am in total silence when I write - I don't even like the sound of the dryer going - I like the quiet.
I'm very organized - and the best thing - when you love your work, you don't mind putting in 15 hour days. It's joyful.
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