Writing 40 Thieves on Saipan with Joseph Tachovsky brought me back to my roots as a journalist and historian. Rich primary research in transcripts of eight of the Thieves and access to their papers and photos added to available resources made 40 Thieves a rare book. We worked together for almost three years and developed a lasting friendship in the process. The High Cost of Flowers winning the 2015 Midwest Book Awards for Contemporary Fiction and for Literary Fiction changed how I think about the hours spent writing each book, short story or blog. As a voracious reader, I want to make sure that others have a good experience in the time they spend with my books. Both The High Cost of Flowers and Minnesota Cold, which won the 2009 NEMBA for Fiction, took many years to write. The real world is always close when I write, even with my speculative fiction books. You will always find characters who resemble someone at your place of work, in your neighborhood, sitting at your family gatherings. Maybe one of my stories will spark a conversation. My bookshelves are jammed with books by Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve, Pat Conroy, Toni Morrison,Hilary Mantel, William Gibson, Louise Erdrich, Sue Miller, Haruki Murakami, Maeve Binchy, Dave Eggers, Ken Follett, Olivia Butler, Kazuo Ishiguro, Terry McMillan and Stieg Larsson and many other authors. I switch back and forth between reading ebooks and physical books. Stephen King and Anne Lamott wrote my favorite writing craft books. I've found inspiration in Julia Cameron's The Artist Way and David Whyte's The Heart Aroused. If you want facts about my background: I have a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, a Master of Science in Industrial Relations and Educational Psychology and a degree in Journalism. I have lived my life in the Midwest.Read more Read less
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