Tell us a bit about your family. My parents are scientists and educators. My sister is an artist, my brother is a musician, and then there’s me. My parents still aren’t sure what they did wrong.
What is your favorite quality about yourself? I’m empathetic and usually pretty good about making other people feel good about themselves.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself? I’m a workaholic. I have a very full life but I know I could be just living more than I am.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.
- Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud-Time
This is what writing is to me. Uniting every aspect of your life in your work and play and always being aware that there is something bigger at stake.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I’ve learned how to translate a vision inside my mind into a concrete reality that can reach people and move people. Not just with the books I write, but with my teaching and with my political activism, too. Making dreams reality, is what it is.
What is your favorite color? Well, if you look at my wardrobe – black! Right now I’m very partial to a silvery lilac, though.
What is your favorite food? I get a lot of grief for saying this, but – milk. I love milk. It’s the one food I have to have every day. But if you’re insisting on something solid, then cheese. Especially Spanish cheeses.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Tie between New Orleans, London and San Francisco.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My father grew up in Mexico, a country that’s steeped in magical realism. But he was also a scientist, so he had this strange polarity of spiritualism and rationalism. I think that’s made me cross the possibility of the supernatural with very rational explanations for whatever weirdness goes on in my books. I like to walk that edge. And my family did quite a bit of traveling, so along with all the good stuff—great art, ancient cultures, different mores and political beliefs—I was exposed to disturbing images and situations: poverty, desperation, oppression, madness. From the time I was a very young child I was very sensitive to the fact that there’s a lot of weirdness out there, and a lot of danger from unstable people. It certainly influenced my dark themes.
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Genre – Mystery / Thriller
Rating – PG13