Where are you from?
Who are your favorite writers?
Denis Johnson. Douglas Coupland. Junot Diaz. Ann Patchett. Lots of others.
Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Angels, by Dennis Johnson. Lots of others.
What are your hobbies and outside interests?
I play drums, guitar, bass, and ukulele. Mostly hard rock, metal, and classic rock. I train animals, mainly dogs, using operant conditioning. I keep fish.
What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
My dad told me two things that are absolutely true—unoriginal, but true:
1. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
2. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Poppy used to advise me:
Eat five fruits a day.
Eat something of every color every day.
Beware the hunters (bad people that prey on good people).
Never be a fashion victim.
Always be prompt—being on time is the quality of kings.
What is your favorite quote?
"Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth." ― William Faulkner
"Being brilliant is no great feat if you respect nothing." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." -Martin Luther King, Jr.
What inspired you to write your first book?
For The Bird Market of Paris, my initial inspiration was to enhance people’s knowledge of birds and how intelligent and loyal they are. As I wrote, I realized that the story had far more depth than that, but from what I hear from readers, they do fall in love with birds as they read the story, so my original intention was realized.
Where do you write?
I write slouched on my sofa in my apartment surrounded by three furry bodies -- my dogs, and in the vicinity of my fish tanks. My animal friends keep me company while I write. I travel by Amtrak a lot, and I tend to write many thousands of words during a trip. The train is a wonderful place to write. The movement and the sound of the train turns on the creativity in my brain.