Artist Statement

I came to writing fiction with and MFA in poetry, and in the last ten years I’ve been writing novels much like I write poems, line by line, on the way to discovery. Voice is critical. The sound in my prose, more rhythmic than lyrical, drives the narrative. Above all, the work goes toward difficult subjects, and I let it. I summon courage to write uncomfortable scenes. I’m hopelessly drawn to flawed characters, and crank conflict by throwing barriers in front of what they want. This way, I uncover what is true for them, and for the world of the story as a whole. I believe in letting my characters live on the page and in keeping my writer-self out of the way. Dialogue, in particular, carries emotional subtext. I do not tell lessons or push messages in my prose; I aim for goodness and land in the vicinity of hope.

Though I have academic training in writing poetry, aside from a few fiction workshops, I learned how to write novels by writing novels. I have a combination of unfinished and finished novels in my wake, some partially published as stories, none as books, all love stories at their core. As a matter of structure, told from a singular third-person close narrator, I craft story as an unwinding classic arc, that allows for additional arcing subplots. Big emotional wins and losses happen in my novels: twists, turns and payoffs. I’m driven to grip, surprise, and reward a reader.