I was born in Los Angeles. One of my first memories is of looking out the window of the black Cadillac that my family drove across the wide-open desert when we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is where I grew up, and where my sister and I spent countless summer afternoons making fairy potions, battling evil witches, and playing other imaginary games that probably contributed to my proclivity to make up stories.
My first memory of writing is as a 2nd grader. I had been assigned to write a poem about the things I liked and why. I started out pretty unassumingly: “I like rainbows because they are pretty. I like kittens because they are soft.” And then I wrote, “I like my Mom—” but I couldn’t come up with an end to the sentence. I remember it vividly because it was my first awareness of that space between a feeling and the language we have to name it. No words were big enough. I thought about all of the things that I loved about her, all the fun stuff we did together, and finally I settled on, “I like my Mom because she gave birth to me.” That just seemed the most basic. (It was, in part, her beautiful life, and her sudden, untimely death that inspired me to write my first book, Love Letters to the Dead.)
After a lot of growing up (stories for another time), I got my undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, and then received my MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, (where I lived on the bottom floor of a farm house once occupied by Kurt Vonnegut!). Upon graduating from Iowa, I moved to Los Angeles with aspirations of becoming a screenwriter. I had the good fortune to get a job working for Stephen Chbosky, the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and became an associate producer on his film adaptation of the book. When I got up the guts to give him some of my writing, he said, “I think you should write a novel.” The idea had actually never occurred to me before, but that night, on my drive home, I was staring absently at the half-full moon while waiting for a red light to change, and a title popped into my head: Love Letters to the Dead. I started writing the book that night. Since its publication, I've adapted it into a screenplay for Temple Hill (the company that produced Twilight and The Fault In Our Stars) and I’m hoping to see it come to life on screen.
I now live with my husband, and spend my days writing in neighborhood coffee shops, in bed, in my shoebox office in our apartment. I love the LA palm trees, especially the really tall ones that bend in the wind. I love how when a new album comes out, you hear it pouring from car windows all over the city. While I was at work on my new book, In Search Of Us, I spent a lot of time wandering around Los Angeles with my headphones on, listening to James and Marilyn's music, and to Angie’s, imagining them in the same spaces where I found myself.
When I'm not writing (or walking around and thinking about writing), I love to spend time reading, hiking, being at the beach, doing yoga, cooking, binge watching TV, and going to the movies (where I am always the one crunching on popcorn during the supposed-to-be-quiet moment). I love traveling, too. Since the publication of my first book, I've had the opportunity to visit Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, and many cities throughout the US. Whether in person or online, I've been blown away by the generosity of readers around the world. Thank you; getting to know you all has been an incredible joy and honor.