As a teacher and a writer, I think stories should be entertaining; characters, their desires and conflicts, should always come first--as John Gardner suggested, a writer's job is to construct a uninterrupted dream the reader experiences from the first to the final page. I strive to write those vivid, memorable dreams, and for me, the dreams I appreciate most are the ones that help me reflect on what it means to be a human being in my society today--dreams that ask the oldest and most important questions--who am I and what am I supposed to do now?
So for me, writing fiction is an act of social engagement. I want my work to participate in relevant cultural conversations. As a high school teacher, I was always on the hunt for books I could use in my classes that would excite my students and help them better learn the skills we needed to study and practice in our English classes, but also, and even more importantly, I wanted to find books that would inspire my students to take seriously and think critically about their role as citizens in our society today--books that would help them reflect on who they are and what they believe.
I write with the same principles at heart. I write stories that try to honor the dignity and grace of people caught up in the complexities of our day. Ultimately, I write in search of hope.