(That's me up there ^) (with glasses)

(That's me up there ^) (with glasses)

Q: Where do you get the nerve? 

A: I'm not sure.  

Q: Do you like writing books?

A: Of course I do.  

Q: Can I tell you about a book I think you should write?

A: You can tell me, but I'm not going to write it. 

Q: How did you get published? 

A: I harassed a lot of strangers for many years.  Then one of those strangers liked my book.  There were some very emotional moments somewhere in between those two.  And several years of public school teaching. 

Q: What's your favorite book?

A: I have three favorite books.  Slaughterhouse-Five  by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., The Catcher in the Rye  by JD Salinger, and To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee.  There are so many runners-up that I can't name them. 

Q: What is your favorite movie? 

A: This is another tie--but it's between four films.  The Hours , Adaptation , The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and (more recently) Life of Pi.   These are all brilliant and beautiful films for many different reasons, some shared and some not. But I change my favorites about once a month, so take this list with caution. 

Q: What's your greatest bit of advice for others?

A: Learn to say no to people.  If you can do that without being a jerk about it, the world is your oyster.  And always wash your hands. 

Q: What inspired you to write Where Things Come Back ?

A: I heard a story on NPR about the possible rediscovery of the Ivory-billed woodpecker in Brinkley, Arkansas, in 2005.  I decided I wanted to write a coming-of-age story set in a town like this...and sometime after that I decided to make the book about a missing kid and imaginary zombies and a book of the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible.  It's all Sufjan Stevens' fault, really. 

Q: Really, where do you get the nerve?

A: I'm telling you, I just don't know.  

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’m taking some time away from fiction to live a little and figure out what to say about the world. I’m currently working an exciting new job at Apptegy, an ed tech start-up that builds apps and websites for schools in Arkansas. Check out our magazine @ SchoolCEO.com!