What do you create?
Words, words, words. Mostly fiction these days, with a smattering of poetry and playwriting here and there. My first novel, The Magician’s Lie, is coming out in January 2015. Which seems either years away or basically tomorrow, depending on the mood you catch me in. The Magician’s Lie is historical fiction, set in 1905, about a female magician whose most famous illusion involves cutting a man in half – a dangerous notion for the time, and one that gets her in hot water when a dead body is found under the stage after her show.
Historical fiction is my focus these days. It’s an enormous pain to write – so much research! – but I just love the idea of drawing the reader into a completely different world. That’s what I enjoy as a reader, so it’s what I try to create as a writer. Something absorbing. Something that takes you away.
Why do you create?
Because I can’t not. There have been a few – maybe more than a few – dark and demoralized times where I’ve thought about quitting writing forever, but they never last. I’ll go to bed Monday swearing I’m never writing again and I’ll wake up Tuesday with a powerful new idea percolating. I’m a fairly practical person, yet it’s exactly when the logical things are going completely wrong – a story gets rejected, some career door closes, a harsh but fair critique comes in – that I often feel most creative. Maybe it’s because when it seems like writing will never lead to recognition or money or any other external validation, I realize that I’d do it anyway, without any of those things. I do it because I love it. Because it’s an itch nothing else can scratch.
What do you consume?
Everything in moderation, including moderation. Having kids has changed my consumption habits a lot, as you might imagine. I almost never see movies in the theater anymore, but on the other hand, I’m constantly awake in the middle of the night with the baby, and she doesn’t object to me reading a book, or wandering the interwebs, or streaming Netflix. Some is just entertainment (who knew there were so many seasons of “Chuck”?) and some is research for the next book, and the best stuff checks both boxes. Right now I’m reading Karen Abbott’s Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, which is nonfiction about four female spies in the Civil War, and it’s riveting. I tried streaming the Ken Burns Civil War documentary, but if you’re trying to stay awake at 2 a.m., that’s not the way to do it. It takes something with a little more zing.
The Magician’s Lie: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781402298684