Photo by Averil Dean
Photo by Averil Dean

I did my first author interview for the CALIFORNIA PROSE DIRECTORY, new writing from the Golden State, coming in April from Outpost 19.

What did I learn in said interview?  That I’m a bit gushy about how much I love living in the Golden State.  But that’s not so bad, right?

And thanks to the uber-talented Averil Dean — friend, writer, photographer — for this fantastic author photo on Carmel Beach.  Carmel Beach with my dogs: yet another favorite thing.

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What’s your connection to California? Native? Recent arrival? Expat? 

Two years before I was born, my teenage mother left Missouri for California.  She stayed for 9 weeks before she got so homesick she started hitchhiking her way back to the Midwest.  A lifelong regret.  Having heard that story all my life, I was excited to head west.  In 2006, shortly after my mother died, my husband and I moved to northern California, and from the day we arrived my new mantra became, “I am never moving again.”  I am home.

What’s one of your favorite things about California?

The constant sunshine, the generosity of my neighbors, year-round blooming flowers, weather that invites me outdoors so I can walk my dogs every single day, the Santa Cruz mountains, the ocean off Carmel Beach, how open the locals are to outsiders, the environmentalists, Stanford football, farmers markets and how you can always find a fresh avocado, the fact that Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath right up the street from my house.  Oh wait –- did you say pick one thing?

What’s one of your least favorite things about California?

Property taxes.

What’s a favorite piece of writing that features California?

I’m a long-time Wallace Stegner fan, but I especially appreciate Angle of Repose now that I live here.  And don’t even get me started on my John Steinbeck addiction.

Where in California does your story/essay take place, and what made you want to write about that specific part or aspect of California?

In 2009 I was invited to spend a week at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  President Obama had only been in office a few months, and the political climate was still explosive, and I was afraid to go.  Would a liberal female from northern California be welcomed there?  What if they hated me?  What if I hated them?  Of course nothing is that simple, and “War College” is the story of what happened.  That week changed my views, and my life.

What are you working on currently?

I’m almost finished with a memoir I’ve been writing for 5 years.  It’s a story about trying to go home to Missouri after being gone for 20 years, about how we can fight or accept our history, about how we ultimately get to define what we call “family.”

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What’s your favorite piece of writing about California?

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