What do you think of when you think of Chicago?
Great indie music. Some of my favorites include: Urge Overkill, The Smashing Pumpkins, Ministry, alt country pioneers The Waco Brothers, Liz Phair (the early days), Neko Case, The Redwalls, Smith Westerns, and my all-time favorite Chicago band Material Issue. Jim Ellison (R.I.P.) is always crooning from my own personal "tower of song."
Who is an author you'd like to meet, dead or alive?
What's the worst question you've ever been asked in an interview?
"Is this story autobiographical?"
What's your guilty pleasure reading?
William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist." Guilty, but hardly shameful.
What's your favorite font to write in?
I'm font promiscuous, but I wrote the first draft of Beautiful Fools in Verdana.
Do you listen to music while you write? What music?
Rarely. I'm too easily distracted by a great song.
How do you celebrate after you've finished a book?
I celebrated the completion of Beautiful Fools over dinner and drinks with my sister Jennifer and my dear friend Anne (to whom the novel is dedicated) at Maude's Liquor Bar in Chicago.
What's your favorite first line of a book? Last line?
"Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu."
– Ha Jin, Waiting
"And he couldn't do it. He could not fucking die. How could he leave? How could he go? Everything he hated was here." – Philip Roth, Sabbath's Theater
What book do you read over and over again?