Current Release: Swimming in the Moon
Describe your current release in two sentences?
In 1905, Lucia (14) and her mother Teresa (28) are servants in a grand villa on the Bay of Naples; musically gifted but emotionally fragile, Teresa explodes at their master's assaults and they must flee to Cleveland. There Lucia becomes a leader in the fight for worker justice just as Teresa's demons hound her from the vaudeville world where she found brief escape; now Lucia must balance her own calling and her daughter's duties.
What are you working on?
My next novel is set in World War I, in the German-American community and brings in magic realism I've explored in short stories but not yet in novels.
Is there an author or book that has greatly influenced your writing?
So many. I love the lush prose and complex plots of Charles Dickens and the deceptively spare prose and plots of Kent Haruf. I love Tracy Kidder's non-fiction and the varied styles of Chris Cleve, Louise Erdrich and Lief Enger.
As a reader: Do you gravitate toward buying eBook or Print?
I don't have an eReader but I'm going to be in Singapore for a month and that will probably push me to enter the digital book world.
Who is your coolest character?
I think Luica; she's smart, but sees her own failings, a loyal friend, called to social justice. She's ready to push the man she loves, to risk solitude for principles. She faces out loss and nearly losses all and, like many people today, must walk a hard line between the work and live that calls her and the need to care for a broken, beloved parent. And in the end, she triumphs.
I'm so grateful to the readers who read and write to me, to book clubs that include me and to the teachers and editors in my life who said, in different ways: hum . . . have you considered . . . . . because, really, there's always more road ahead.