“Whenever my writing begins to feel boxed in, as if the words no longer possess any degree of freedom, trickling out painfully one by one, I remind myself of Grace Paley’s famous aphorism: ‘Everyone, real or imagined, deserves the open destiny of life.’ This is true for ourselves, certainly, but also for our characters and for the words through which we render their stories.”
Read the rest here

Du Maurier composed ‘Blue Lenses’ in the Cold War era, and her message proves oddly prescient—increasingly, we are scared less of the unknown, as our prehistoric ancestors may have been, and more of the known and the familiar—those around us, our friends and family, and the social institutions—schools, hospitals, churches, and government—upon which we so much rely.”
Read the rest here

“I had been accumulating elements of a gambling story for as long as I can remember. One pivotal moment, although I could hardly have known it then, was when I saw an episode of the ABC show That’s Incredible in third or fourth grade. They had a blind dealer on as a guest, and his trick was that he could separate a 52-card deck into two smaller decks, one containing all the royal cards, and the other containing the rest, just from quickly feeling the weight of each card. The especially haunting aspect of his performance was the fact that he made one error—a ten, I believe—which is a card that has almost the same amount of ink imprinted upon it as a face card. I held many, many small experiences such as this in my subconscious that finally emerged when I was composing Queen of Spades.”
Read the rest here

Queen of Spades landed on the 35 Over 35 list of best 35 debut books by writers over the age of 35! Congrasts to my pressmate Renee Macalino Rutledge who also made the list with her gorgeous debut Hour of Daydreams.
See the entire list here

Queen of Spades also landed on Seattle-area bookseller Mercer Island Book’s Paperback Power Trio along with Hernan Diaz’s In the Distance and Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.
Read more here