My thanks to Cathryn Hankla who tagged me in The Next Big Thing Chain! See her posting on her facebook page at!/hankla1?fref=ts

I’m working on a few short stories, all of which investigate parallels between humans and animals. I’ve also started a new novel that takes place in a rural setting and includes gardening, climate change, and marriage. It’s too early to say much more than that. Novels grow slowly for me. While I have a sense of the whole picture and usually of the ending, the characters take time to solidify, and so much of the novel always depends on the relationships between them. I have to remind myself to be patient and let that happen, as well as the turns down wrong alleys.

I also have a group of poems, many which originated from dream fragments. I keep reworking them, and looking for ways to expand the group. Two of them, “Piecing Things Together” and “Cottage” appeared in the recent issue of the The Hollins Critic.

In all my writing I’m trying to bore deeper into the emotions and experiences of my characters. In my fiction, I’m using a close third person narrator to attempt this, versus a first person narrator, which I used in some of my earlier novels. I’m interested in the potential sharpness of that third person vision and also in its ability to approach and touch the character’s inner life. I’ve been re-reading Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse again, slowly, a few pages a day, feeling for her rhythms, which work so beautifully to penetrate her characters and their world.

Who would I cast in a book of mine? I can’t answer that question regarding anything new, but I would love to see the following in a filming of my recent book, Centerville, a novel.

As Elizabeth, the woman who builds a mosaic on her kitchen wall in response to the sudden death of her husband in the bombing:

Elisabeth Moss

Also, Ashley Judd or Kate Winslet.

As Jack, the police officer who is one of the first responders to the bombing and large fire:

Matt Damon. 

As the minister, who has to face the reality of those who make up his congregation:

Ewan McGregor

Also, Russell Crowe.

And as Sandi, the fourteen year old who unexplainably turns away from the drugstore instead of entering it just before the explosion occurs:

A newcomer with an expressive but innocent face.

I know I missed some possibilities, so please list them in the comments.