I know you have 2 dogs--one of which made the cover of your novel. What's the craziest thing your dogs have done?
They are both German Shepherds, so they play hard. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a nature documentary. They bark and growl and roll around on the ground together (sometimes in the yard and sometimes in the living room).Their teeth gnash, but their tales wag the whole time. They play until they are completely exhausted. Sometimes, Argo lets Stella tackle him, and it’s hysterical. Stella is small for a German Shepherd, and Argo has about 35 pounds on her, but he’ll throw himself on the ground like she’s knocked him over, when she clearly doesn’t have the heft to.He’s very dramatic.
How did you find your agent?
I found Rebecca Strauss’s listing on AgentQuery.com and thought she might be a good fit for my book. I sent her a query letter, sample pages, and a synopsis, and she picked my query out of the slush pile. I know a lot of writers fear that things like that don’t happen and it’s all about who you know. I had a few contacts who were generous with their help, but ultimately what worked for me was sending a query through the traditional submission lines.Rebecca and I had no previous connections.
Who would you cast in the movie version of STAY, if you had a choice?
J and I joke about casting choices all the time. I'm on a Buffy/Angel kick right now, so the current joke is James Marsters in every role.
What led you to writing?
When I started college, I was a theatre major. I loved my acting classes. We worked on developing characters, taking apart scenes, and figuring out the intentions behind the characters in the scenes. I was less enthralled with that whole getting up and performing on stage part of things, which is not really ideal when you’re a theatre major. I dropped out of school for several years. When I finally went back, as a Communications major, I had a few professors who really made a point of letting me know that writing was something I should consider pursuing. I am so thankful for that. I added some creative writing classes to my course schedule in future semesters. When I started writing fiction, I felt like things began to click for me.
Under what circumstances are you at your most creative?
I come up with a lot of story ideas and solve a lot of issues that are holding me up in a story when I’m doing something active. I realized Van needed a dog while I was raking leaves in the backyard. I worked out some difficult Van/Peter dialogue while hiking with Argo. So much of my creative process happens while I’m not writing, and then when I sit down to write, I know what I need to do.
What sort of themes do you find come up in your writing?
I’m very interested in how complex friendships can be. Some are both delicate and durable at the same time. And even though there is a simplicity to some aspects of love, the way we love people and the reasons we love people are not simple concepts.
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