I began writing when my theatre company, Attention Deficit Drama (ADD), was working on a show we called “A Million Monologs for the Millennium.” One of our trio suggested I write some of the monologs. I said I might, but I doubted it; I preferred acting and teching. A few days later I awoke with a monolog in my head which poured out of me whole cloth, no revision needed. That moment changed my writing from self-directed to audience-focused. I wrote three monologs for that show, one for a girl chased by boys, “Squish,” one for a middle-aged hippie, “Hot Water,” and one for an old woman in a holler in West Virginia, “Rockin’.” The old woman has since appeared in a creative non-fiction piece called “Middle of Nowhere,” and she is in my novel Isolation.

Dystopia has been my genre as long as I've been a reader. My favorite author is Margaret Atwood. I was handed her Handmaid’s Tale in my mid-twenties and read the entire book on a cross-country plane trip, even though I wasn’t much of a reader at the time. She has an amazing way of weaving together nature, science, religion and culture—from a grounded character perspective. Even when her scenarios are somewhat outlandish, as in the MaddAddam Trilogy, I never doubt the veracity of her characters. I’d have to say that her Oryx and Crake is probably my favorite book.


While I love many classic dystopias, and recently enjoyed helping teach a dystopian class with Professor Bob Mayberry at Cal State Channel Islands, I think my current favorite is The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist. I’ve read it three times and yet am surprised by then ending every time. That's a good novel!

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