Who are your favorite writers?Read the complete Q & A.
I love Kate Atkinson, Michael Chabon, Margaret Atwood, Jane Smiley, Richard Russo—I could go on. And there's nothing in the world like a vintage Stephen King and a glass of iced tea on a lazy summer day.
* * *
Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game blew my 10-year-old mind with its multiple characters, multiple plots, multiple red herring, try-to-solve-it-yourself mystery. And years later, John Irving's The World According to Garp was an object lesson in absolutely stuffing a book to bursting—with characters, with ideas, with absurdity—and yet making it all ring true.
* * *
What inspired you to write your first book?
This Must Be the Place was inspired by many, many things: the art of Joseph Cornell; the Pixies' "Doolittle;" the true story of John Myatt, an art forger who happened to be a single father (which got me thinking: what would it be like to have a forger in the family?); and a burning desire to justify the student loan payments I owed on my MFA.