A. Publishing as it was no longer exists: far fewer books are being published, the business is slow to embrace technology, and the old model has worn out. Editors and marketers don’t seem aware that the entire next reading generation of twenty- and thirty-somethings will inevitably do most of their reading on devices and won’t necessarily want long novels by debut authors. They will likely read e-books first; then, if they love it, they might buy the physical book.
Q. Shelter is available as an e-book. How do you feel about readers experiencing your book on an electronic device?
A. I have mixed feelings. One of my sisters had been in Mexico over this month as Shelter is released, so she ordered the Kindle edition. I wished she’d waited for the physical volume, since it’s a lovely little book to hold and I think it would have added to the experience. That said, I don’t generally have any problems with e-books—they are the future, and while my first book is no longer in print, at least it’s available as an e-book. The Ice Chorus is also out in e-book. If done right, the author gets a better percentage of sales.
Q. In finding land and building a retreat, did you achieve your goal of bridging some connection between your father and son?
A. Sam never had the chance to bond with a grandparent the way so many of us have. But I think observing me write this book and building our little place, he began to appreciate the land and learn more about his grandfather. So, yes, mostly, just not in the way I’d imagined.
Q. At the end of Shelter your son was in Tokyo. Where is he now?
A. After some visa problems in Japan, he’s back in the Twin Cities, a full-time student with a double major in art and design. We have lunch; it’s great.
Q. What’s next?
A. I’m hoping to find a publisher for my latest book, Vacationland, set in a remote resort in (where else?) northern Minnesota. The bulk of the story is told by visitors over the sixty-year life of the place and by the granddaughter who returns as an adult decades after being raised there.
Q. Sounds a little like Shelter. Is it at all biographical?
A. No, just set on similar ground. I’m also halfway through writing a novel based on a screenplay I recently finished, Fishing With RayAnne, about the camera-shy host of the first all-women fishing/talk show on public television. It’s a dark comedy, really fun to write.
Q. What is the status of your land now? Is it safe, or will the road project go through?
A. I still don’t know—just have to deal with not knowing. The cabin is on shaky ground, but at least for now we still have our place in the woods. Thankfully, my family is rock solid. I’m thinking of getting a dog . . . it’s all good.