What was the last book that you read that you’d now recommend?
I recently finished Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce and would highly recommend it. I loved the setting—1920s Chicago—and the wonderful cast of characters, especially the unflappable Honoree.
Have you read any classics lately that you were reading for the first time?
I read East of Eden by John Steinbeck for the first time not long ago. I enjoyed some of his other works—Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, Tortilla Flat—but I’ll be honest, I didn’t’ love East of Eden. Too plodding for me.
Do you re-read books? And if yes, what was your last re-read?
I don’t often reread books. But I might listen to the audiobook and then read the paper copy or vice versa. I did this recently with The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. The audiobook was amazing, but I wanted to see how it was stylized on the page, so I got the hardback and read it too.
What are your go-to genres?
My go-to genres are historical fiction and women’s fiction, but I dabble in romance, fantasy, and pop-science too.
What is your favorite childhood book?
My favorite childhood book was Naya Nuki by Kenneth Thomasma. (I loved historical fiction, even as a kid.)
What books are on your bedside table right now?
I like to keep at least one book of poetry on my bedside table for a short burst of inspiration before falling asleep. It helps my brain reset sometimes after a stressful day. Right now I have chapbooks from two Las Vegas poets on my bedstand: Bougainvillea by Elizabeth Quiñones-Zaldaña and Echo Bay by Jennifer Battisti.
Do you bookmark or dogear your page in a book?
Bookmark always! I’ll underline passages and write notes in the margins of my books, but I shudder at the idea of folding the pages.
What is your ideal reading setting?
Outside in the sunshine or curled up by the fireplace. I also love reading in the car on long road trips (audiobooks, of course, if I’m the one driving.)
Tell us about your favorite indie bookstore?
It’s hard to pick just one! I have fond memories of visiting The Tattered Cover in Denver as a kid. But my favorite has to be The Writer’s Block here in Las Vegas. They have a wonderful selection of books packed into the cutest shop. (It’s also an artificial bird sanctuary for all you bird lovers.)
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I remember reading Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson in early elementary school. I was completely swept up in the fantasy of the story and then utterly heartbroken by the ending. That was one of the first experiences to teach me the power of words.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
My entire family visited Harry Potter World in Orlando, Florida. We cast spells with our wands, drank butterbeer, and rode the Hogwarts Express. The rides were a bit too scary for my young nieces, but otherwise the trip was pure magic.
Where do you get most of your writing and editing done?
Most of my writing and editing happens in the spare bedroom at the front of my house. It’s cozy and quiet with a big window that lets in the morning light.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both! On a good day, I’ll write for hours and still feel energized at the end. On a bad day, I’m drained before breakfast.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have one unpublished book and spattering of false-starts, stories that I outlined or began but never got beyond the first few chapters.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I deal with bad reviews by avoidance. Which is to say, I rarely read my reviews. Even a review that’s 80% positive and only 20% negative will leave me feeling down. But I save every kind email and note that readers send. I reread them when I’m feeling blue.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I’d remind her that the most important part is the people you meet along the way.
When you’re not reading or writing, what are you doing?
I work as an infection prevention nurse at a local hospital. Otherwise, I’m hanging out with friends, tending to my house plants, or blobbing in front of the TV.
What are your three favorite things right now?
Kombucha (a friend of mine just gave me a scoby and taught me how to make it), propagating my house plants (even though my husband tells me we have too many plants already), Spring! (I love spending time outdoors)
Your favorite travel destination and why?
The beach. Any beach. Rocks or sand. Rain or shine. I’ve lived my entire life in dry, landlocked states, so the ocean is a wonder to me.
What’s your favorite meal and go-to drink order?
My favorite meal is chile rellenos. I order it whenever it’s on the menu. My go-to drink is earl gray tea with frothed soy milk.
What six people, living or dead, would you invite to dinner a party?
Jane Austen and the five Bennet sisters!
If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be, who would play you?
Lol, a chick flick for sure. Kate Winslet would play me. (I hope.) I’m envisioning her a la Titanic, but her vibe in Mare of Easttown might be more on the mark.
What’s the last TV show or movie you watched that was really good?
My friends just turned me on to the Hulu show Dollface, and I’m loving it!
You have to sing karaoke; what song do you pick?
I’m Sensitive by Jewel.
If you were being taken to a deserted island and could only bring one book, what would it be?
The Age of Innocence by Edith Warton. I wouldn’t say it’s my very favorite book, but it speaks to me differently every time I read it.