What was the last book that you read that you’d now recommend?
I just finished Angels of the Pacific by fellow PNW author Elise Hooper. It’s historical fiction and is a beautifully done, riveting story based on a true story from WWII! Also I finally read A Man Named Ove which I adored too!
Have you read any classics lately that you were reading for the first time?
I’m working my way through Anna Karenina which is my husband’s favorite book. That’s a new one for me!
Do you re-read books? And if yes, what was your last re-read?
I don’t tend to re-read novels unless they are VERY special to me. Little Women was my favorite book growing up and I’ve re-read that one several times.
What are your go-to genres?
Women’s fiction, book club fiction, rom coms (especially British ones) if I want something fun and light, some historical fiction, food writing and memoir. I have a very vivid imagination so I struggle with suspense, murder mysteries or anything that’s going to make me imagine terrible things in the night!
What is your favorite childhood book?
Little Women! Jo was such an inspiration to me. She helped shape who I am today.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
I have a few advanced reader copies of new books that I’ve been asked to endorse. Those are always fun! And I’m reading Sarah Jio’s With Love from London.
Do you bookmark or dogear your page in a book?
Oh goodness, bookmark! To dog ear a book feels disrespectful somehow to me.
What is your ideal reading setting?
A big comfy chair and an afghan on the porch of my husband’s family’s cabin on San Juan Island with a light breeze and a beautiful, silvery bright view of the sea.
Tell us about your favorite indie bookstore?
I live near Seattle and am blessed to have several independent bookstores I just love! Watermark Book Company in Anacortes, WA is a fun and lively one. Island Books and Magnolia’s Bookstore near Seattle have excellent selections and a lot of soul. And Invitation Bookshop in Gig Harbor, south of Seattle, has a thoughtful selection and a warm vibe.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Hearing from a friend who read my first novel that it had changed his view on life and caused him to question certain things about his life that he’d not questioned in years. I was humbled and in awe that my words could change someone’s heart or life. It’s an honor and a big responsibility I don’t take lightly! I still feel that way every time I hear from a reader who was encouraged, challenged or touched by one of my stories. It’s a powerful thing to be able to connect with readers through stories that touch their hearts and bring hope, encouragement and healing and perhaps even change something about their lives. That’s the power of story.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I lived in Europe for years, so I feel like I’ve been on a LOT of literary pilgrimages. Paris stands out as a particularly lovely one!
Where do you get most of your writing and editing done?
I live on an island and have a quiet home office with a daybed next to a window with a view of tall evergreens and Puget Sound. I do most of my writing lounging on that bed, creating stories in my head. It’s one of my favorite places to be.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing completely energizes me. It’s like a double espresso and a big dose of happiness every time I sit down to write a story. I love it!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
One unpublished novel that I cannibalized for one of my previous novels. It wasn’t a good story but it had some good parts that I could use to make a better story. And I have a bright pink file box filled with notebooks containing some very early short stories from my teen years.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I used to read my reviews and now I find that it is most helpful to let someone else I trust read them and give me any useful feedback, particularly about elements of the story that readers really enjoyed and any constructive criticism pieces that I can use to help strengthen my next novel. Bad reviews sting no matter what! As an author you want people to like the stories that are close to your heart. But if someone gives me a bad review I tell myself “that reader is not my target audience” because not every book is for everyone. Some resonate and some don’t and that’s okay! That’s why there are many stories and many readers. Something for everyone.
If you could tell your younger self anything about writing, what would it be?
It’s okay to do the thing you really love as a career. It’s okay to do something that brings you such intrinsic joy. Also get a marketing minor in college, not just a literature degree. You’ll thank me later!
When you’re not reading or writing, what are you doing?
Walking around our island, kayaking in Puget Sound, cooking and hosting, having adventures, and being a mom to 2 little humans I adore.
What are your three favorite things right now?
Getting to connect with readers in person again, watching my new novel The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie wing its way into the world, and having a vegetable and flower garden for the first time (it’s not going super well at present but I did harvest my first tomato this week!)
Your favorite travel destination and why?
I adore Europe, Hawaii and Thailand. My favorite right now is probably Italy. I’m setting my next book there and am planning a research trip right now. My father’s family is Italian and somehow my whole body relaxes as soon as I touch down on Italian soil! The food, the beauty, the warm hospitality of the people. Sigh…
What’s your favorite meal and go-to drink order?
Sushi and prosecco. Not necessarily together!
What six people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?
Fred Rogers, Marilyn Robinson, my husband because he’s a great dinner party guest, my Grandma Sally who passed away 2 years ago and made the best pie crust, Jane Austen, and Louisa May Alcott.
If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be, and who would play you?
Probably one of those indie-like films set in Europe where the heroine learns to appreciate the beauty of life through travels and experiences. You know the ones with lots of food and wine and scenery shots. And I’d campaign for Scarlett Johansson to play me!
What’s the last TV show or movie you watched that was really good?
I’m watching Home on Apple+ with my husband and we adore it! It’s about how the architecture of homes around the world can transform communities and be kind to our planet. It’s beautiful and powerful!
You have to sing karaoke; what song do you pick?
Fly Me to the Moon or some other big band-era favorite. I’m pretty stuck in the 50’s-70’s big band and folk-era music. I have a secret desire to learn to plan banjo and sing in a folk band. So maybe I’d do a folk song instead, like Blowin’ in the Wind.
If you were being taken to a deserted island and could only bring one book, what would it be?
Truthfully? My little old green travel Bible. I have a deep personal faith and feel that it would comfort me while I’m alone on a deserted island awaiting rescue. Also, The Bible is so very long that there’s a lot to read which is a bonus if you only get to bring one book!