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Daniela Petrova Interview, Part II

The second installment of my interview with Daniela Petrova, author of the debut novel, HER MOTHER’S DAUGHTER, is now up on YouTube.

In this segment Daniela shares how she cultivated sources in order to do research for the police scenes in her book. She also discusses her Bulgarian background growing up during Communism. Daniela came to the United States at twenty-two knowing almost no English and has had a fascinating journey to becoming a published author! 

To watch Part Two of my interview with Daniela, click here.

Remembering Richard Moore, 1927-2009

In memory of the upcoming tenth anniversary of my father's death, I thought I'd take a moment to remember the poet Richard Moore, 1927-2009.

During the last months of his life, Richard wrote the following fragment. What better person to share his accomplishments than himself.

"Throughout a long life, Richard Moore has won through to the belief that the only real reward in the art of writing is the writing itself. The first of his nineteen books was published and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize when he was forty-four. The books that followed have brought the total to a novel, a book of literary essays, translations of a Greek tragedy and a Roman comedy and fifteen books of poetry, which include a sequence of fifty-eight Petrarchian sonnets, an epic of American history and an epic whose hero is a mouse born and raised in a sewer."

A pilot in the Air Force, a university professor, a poet and fierce seeker of truth, to me he was my father. I loved and admired him deeply. Ours was a complicated relationship, one that has found its way into a number of stories over the years. I've reprinted the short memoir I wrote for a tribute issue of Light Quarterly published shortly after Richard's death.

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Daniela Petrova Interview

On September 7th, hosted by Columbia University’s Fiction Foundry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Daniela Petrova, author of the debut novel, HER MOTHER’S DAUGHTER. Daniela and I enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation about the novel and what it takes to get a book published by Putnam, a major publishing house.

HER MOTHER’S DAUGHTER has been named “One of Five Thrillers to Read This Summer” by Time Magazine, and “One of summer’s most buzzed-about debuts” by CrimeReads. A twist-filled domestic suspense, the novel explores the emotional and ethical complexities of having a baby through an egg donor cycle. The story is told through the point-of-view of the mother, the father, and Katya, the vivacious, enigmatic egg donor, as it raises provocative questions about this important and timely topic.  

Daniela was generous and fun to interview as she shared tips and advice from her journey to publication. The first clip of the video has just been posted to YouTube. The rest will be unrolled over the next few weeks. To see the first installment of my interview with Daniela Petrova, click here.

Resiliance, Determination & Teamwork at the USTA Eastern Sectionals

This past weekend I had the privilege of participating in the USTA Eastern 18+ Sectionals in Schenectady, NY with an awesome group of women. Every member of our team played with grit, heart and amazing support for one another in a tournament that was about so much more than winning or losing. It was about supporting one another as we faced tough decisions and showed up with fierce determination, fairness and generosity for our team, our fellow competitors and ourselves.

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Visiting the Horses

I’ve been busy scribbling away, writing the last chapters of Traveling Light, when I knew it couldn’t wait any longer. I had to visit the horses!

I drove up to Montrose, NY on a drizzly Tuesday to visit my friend Will, his wife Beth, and their menagerie of chickens, horses, dogs, birds and soon goats. When I turned off the highway I passed rolling hills covered in apple orchards, the stunted trees like coral in a desiccated ocean sky. Now, two weeks later, I’m sure the trees are bursting in bloom.

I pulled into the driveway of Will and Beth’s charming farmhouse to find Will deshedding his quarter horse with long strokes of a metal curry comb, flaxen tufts of Merlin’s winter coat lifting in the breeze like milkweed pods. Over the next couple hours Merlin and I became acquainted as he looked at me with his wise, gentle eyes and let me bury my fingers in his mane. I pressed my nose to his side and breathed in the smell of hay and wind and soil. Merlin, apparently, likes to roll around in the dirt. When I held out my hand, he delicately plucked radishes from my palm, the satisfied crunch of his chewing reverberating from deep in his skull. Horses, Will told me, have two sets of teeth. Out in the pasture, I learned about a horse’s different gaits, and how a sound they can’t see, like dried leaves rattling over the grass, can spook them. It was a wonderful visit, and I was grateful to Will and Beth for their generosity.

Best of all, when I got home from my adventure June was ready for her big riding scene! She returned to discover…Whoops. No spoilers;-)

Now, back to the garret…

Greer Hendricks Interview for Columbia Fiction Foundry

On April 6, at the Columbia Alumni Center in New York City, I had the pleasure of interviewing Greer Hendricks, co-author, with Sarah Pekkanen, of THE WIFE BETWEEN US, which spent 26 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers List, and AN ANONYMOUS GIRL, which debuted at #1 on the NYT list and remained in the top five for over two months.

The novels are slick and suspenseful psychological thrillers, and it was fascinating to talk with Greer about her unique writing process. Unlike most writing duos, who take on alternating chapters or different characters, Greer and Sarah craft every line together on Google Docs or Hangout. They visit each other’s cities to plot, camping out in a hotel room with giant Post-It notes on the wall. How cool to have a magical soul-sister writing partner!

Greer was down-to-earth and fun to interview as she shared her story as well as inside tips on the publishing business, optioning a novel for film and TV, and the importance of sitting down and doing the work.

You can watch the full YouTube interview here.

“West 256th Street and Valles Avenue” Published in The McNeese Review

I’m honored and thrilled that my short story, “West 256th Street and Valles Avenue” has been published in the 2018 empathy-themed issue of The McNeese Review. 

I couldn’t be more pleased that my story has found a home within this collection of startling, edgy, and boundary-pushing pieces. Because now, more than ever, we need our writers to drop a plumb line down to the core, to draw up what is true…

“West 256th Street and Valles Avenue” Accepted for Publication

I’m honored and delighted that The McNeese Review has accepted my short story, “West 256th Street and Valles Avenue” for publication in their spring issue!

Founded in 1948, The McNeese Review is an annual publication of the MFA program in Creative Writing at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Nestled in Cajun country, Lake Charles is located on the banks of the Calcasieu River. Contraband Bayou, Henderson Bayou, and English Bayou flow through the city. With such rich history and geography I look forward to some tantalizing literary contraband coming off the press this spring;-)

“The Day the Linden Fell” Live and Online at Menda City Review

My short story, “The Day the Linden Fell,” is live and online at Menda City Review!

In the disembodied world of small press publishing, there is a fresh, subversive, forward-looking retro-hip beauty and audacity to Menda City Review that I’ve always wanted to be a part of. The photos by Nils-Erik Larson featured in the current issue capture this spirit – a magnificent old man reading the paper through the glass, his eyes fiercely alive. I’m honored to have my story included with the startling, resonant pieces in Issue 31.

Perhaps because I’ve just returned from the Hebrides in Scotland, there’s something of Menda City Review that reminds me of the Ardalanish Farm and Weaving Mill on the Isle of Mull, population 2,667. The mill is housed in a rustic stone building, and the wool is spun from the black Hebridean sheep, once endangered, that graze the hills surrounding the farm. The whole enterprise operates off the grid, power generated from wind and the memory, or dreaming, of sun. During the waulking of the cloth in times past, runes were chanted and songs were sung, and traces of similar wool have been found in ancient Island burial chambers.

So here’s to the eyes-wide-open, radically brave small folk, the weavers of wool and the spinners of yarn(s).

Read “The Day the Linden Fell” here.

“Fairway” Now Live and Online at riverbabble.

“Fairway,” has been launched! Huge thanks to riverbabble, an imprint of Pandemonium Press, for publishing my flash fiction in their Seeing and Looking themed issue. I’m honored to be included with this talented group of writers, and what better place for “Fairway” than riverbabble, as it inspires us to look and see, and see some more.

I remember my mother, not unkindly (well, maybe not exactly kindly), telling me to stop staring at people with my mouth hanging open. Taking this good advice to heart, I learned to keep my mouth closed (not really, alas…) and my eyes and ears wide open so as not to miss a second of that crazy jumble of humanity that is our world.

See it here. Take a look! Enjoy.