Don’t let the smile fool you. When I write, people die. Kids get kidnapped or hit by cars. Dogs run away, people lose their jobs. Fire and brimstone stuff in an everyday, ordinary people way. Not sure why, but it happens every time. I wasn’t born “a poor black child,” nor can I claim a childhood with all “that David Copperfield kind of crap.” You’d think I’d write about yellow brick roads and ruby slippers (yes, I’m originally from Kansas), but I liked the black and white part better than the Oz part.
My literary heroes are David Mitchell, Kazou Ishiguro, Donna Tartt, George Saunders, Ivy Pochoda, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the talented Patricia Highsmith, and on and on and … I like realism and magical realism (even if that is an oxymoron). I like psychopaths and antiheroes, but I also like naive characters who triumph in the end, like Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs. No knights in shining armor or happy endings for me, though I have nothing against a good massage.
Once, a few years back, I got off a plane at LaGuardia dressed in my de rigueur, head-to-toe black (I was an art dealer, not a goth), and a stranger asked me, “Good to be home?” I said, “Yes, it is,” even though I live in Des Moines.
Now I tell lies for a living.
This part’s no lie: I am happily married, I have four grown sons, and I love being a writer.
My motto: You can never have too much subtlety.