There's something about the Pacific Northwest, the scale of it, and the fact that not so long ago people came here and died getting here, and then died the first winter they were here. There's this breathtaking beauty, just a little bit of moss on the tree, just this little thread of danger, and the sinister. And I really like that.
When I say that I went to grad school in Iowa City, people often assume that I went to the famed writers' workshop MFA program at the University of Iowa. I didn't. I got a master's in journalism.
I was born in Iowa City and spent my early childhood on a hippie commune just outside of town.
I've always been more interested in what happens after the bad thing has happened - the fallout of the bad thing, when people are already damaged. I'm less interested in seeing people when they're fine and following their journey to becoming damaged.
Don't let your characters tell you what to do. They can be pushy. Some writers say that they create characters and then just sort of follow them around through the narrative. I think that these writers are out of their minds.
I'm a sucker for a screwed-up protagonist. We all have issues.
I've written books for awhile, but always on a pretty small scale and always pretty self-indulgent. I chose projects that I thought would be really fun to work on and found friends to work on them with me, and it was all about the process.
I love the fact that we are surrounded by this spectacular natural beauty that routinely strikes us dead. Hikers walk off into the woods and are never seen again. And still we tug on our fleece and skip off into the wilderness, not a care in the world.
I was obsessed with Val McDermid's Tony Hill and Carol Jordan books, delightfully twisted stuff.
I grew up in Washington State and then eventually found my way back to Iowa City for grad school.