I’ve worked for a wine merchant; taught English for the Peace Corps in Africa; spent twenty years in the publishing industry; been an at-home parent for longer than that; and published two works of history–one, about the potato, and the other, about the First World War, my abiding passion for most of my life. My historical fiction portrays lonely, passionate rebels who seek same while reinventing themselves, as with my debut, Lonely Are the Brave, due out in April 2023. In this case, my rebel is a war hero who returns home in 1919 to his small logging town in Washington state, where he becomes a full-time father to the infant daughter born in his absence, an unheard-of, un-American idea–and gossips snicker that the child isn’t even his.
As a reader, I need stories about people who have inner lives–dreams, desires, impulses, private selves–whether they’re conscious of them or not. That’s the quality that to me makes Winnie the Pooh and War and Peace special in the same way. Winnie the Pooh, incidentally, was the first book I could read by myself; what thrills I felt to open that same copy, given me when I was five, and share those stories with my two boys.
I’ve dreamed of being a writer ever since I was fifteen, when I first discovered how much I wanted to have a voice and be heard. The voice I admired most was James Thurber’s, because I loved his humor, sense of the absurd, and willingness to swim against the tide.
When I’m not writing or reading, I cook; like the first two, it’s something I have to do, and love. I also enjoy working with my hands, so I garden and take on modest carpentry projects. My favorite form of exercise is hiking, both where I live, in the Pacific Northwest, and abroad. In September 2014, I spent two weeks hiking in France, where I took the photo above, from a hill overlooking the Dordogne outside the village of St.-Sozy.