1) What did you want to be when you grew up?
First, a groom, until my mother said, with a touch of asperity, that that “wasn’t intellectual enough” (I was six). Later, a poet.
2) As a young person, who did you look up to most?
My sister Araby, on whom my character Lily is based.
3) What was your worst subject in school?
I failed Yearbook. I hadn’t known that was possible.
4) Where do you write your books?
When I was in high school, I played hooky quite a bit and spent a lot of time reading and writing and drinking coffee at a run-down cafeteria in downtown Louisville called Miller’s. When, sadly, they went out of business, my mother bought one of their tables for me, and it’s still where I do my best writing and thinking, as it was when I was fifteen.
5) Who is your favorite fictional character?
A toss up between Ivan Karamazov, Fflewdur Fflam, Betsy Ray, Sherlock Holmes, and Long John Silver.
6) What’s your favorite TV show?
My partner, David, and I are completely obsessed with House. After we put Henry to bed, we eat dinner, watch an episode, and try to spot the red herrings.
7) If you could travel in time, where would you go?
Paris in the ‘20s. Weimar Germany. The day that the very first Neanderthal (or what have you) put an ear of corn by the fire and discovered popcorn. I mean, how freaky would that have been?
8) What’s the best advice you have ever received about writing?
A paraphrase from Hemingway: Writing is the art of applying butt to seat.
9) What would you do if you ever stopped writing?
Well, if I had been born with an entirely different skill set, I’d like to speak dozens of foreign languages and excel at parkour.
10) Where in the world do you feel most at home?
In the Bywater, in New Orleans.
11) What do you wish you could do better?