A. My favorite job is being a writer. But I also love being a professor.
A. Hillcrest High School and Cornell University, Brown University
A. Erik Satie, The Beatles
A. The Godfather
A. Busy, quiet, contemplative and crazy.
A. Take the long view.
A. The paradoxical balance of contentment and peace with stimulation and variety.
A. Dying. I'm one of those people who wants to live forever.
A. Somewhere warm, perhaps India.
A. Aung San Suu Kyi
A. Being too insecure earlier in my life, as in my twenties, to pursue what I wanted.
A. I would love to be a great photographer.
A. My children.
A. My impatience.
A. My patience.
A. In another life I'd be an overseas journalist or running an overseas NGO.
A. I've been told I'm a good mimic.
A. Satan in Paradise Lost
A. People who are rigid in their opinions.
A. Teaching and hunting down stories as a journalist.
A. Writing and working on the ground to change people's lives.
A. Openness, curiosity, subtlety.
A. Oh, that's the hardest, hardest question! My favorite authors change all the time. For instance, I just re-read Tolstoy's Anna Karenina with my reading group, which I simply loved. Toni Morrison is another favorite, as is F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zadie Smith and Geraldine Brooks. Eclectic enough for you? In young adult and children's books, I think Louis Sachar is terrific and so is Paul Zindel and Paula Fox.
A. That's another hard one! Recently I re-read Anna Karenina, by Tolstoy, and I think it is one of the all time greats. Others include: To the Lighthouse, Sula, A Bend in the River, Waterland. In kids books, Holes and The Secret Garden.
A. Sula, for sure.
A. Keep at it.
A. Thanks for opening my eyes. That's my favorite one, at least.
A. Tell Us We're Home came about in a variety of ways. A long time ago I was doing research on nannies and wound up spending time with nannies in the park, or at home, watching and listening to them, watching how they juggled their own children with those they took care of. Soon after I moved to the suburbs--a very strange experience for someone like me, who had grown up and lived in NYC for most of my life. I felt like an immigrant. And then I began to look around and think about the real immigrants in the suburbs. My prior books were about young immigrants but the settings were cities--the traditional place for immigrants. But today, the suburbs are where immigrants come. And so I became fascinated with how young immigrants find their way here, in quintessential American towns. I wondered, too, what it's like in the suburbs, which are often tightly knit and nowadays rely on immigrant women for nannies and housekeepers--what might it be like for their kids? And finally, I wanted to write a girl's friendship novel, no different than other teen friendship novels, but on that offers a slightly different perspective.