Interview – Brass Ankle Blues

What’s Brass Ankle Blues about?

The simple answer is that it’s a coming-of-age novel—the story of a teenage girl’s struggle to come to terms with the disintegration of her parents’ relationship, while she begins to embark on romantic explorations of her own. It’s also a story about family, and how the shape and structure often changes as time goes on, and how each member reacts to that change. It’s a book about fathers and daughters, about first love and family loyalty, and ultimately, it’s about forgiveness. Forgiving yourself as much as forgiving another.

Is it autobiographical?

In some way, I think everything I write is autobiographical. Everything is filtered through me, so a part of every character is me—or maybe a part of me is in every character. If the real question is, “Did this happen to you?” the answer is No. Yet some aspects of the story—many locations, and some of the narrative framework—are based on real places and experiences. But the plot is entirely fictional.

Did you always want to be a writer?

As a child, I didn’t have the audacity to want to be a writer. At different times I wanted to be a truck driver, a judge and an architect. But writing was something I always loved, telling stories that I would want to read, so I always came back to it. As a teenager, I used to try to imagine a life with a real job, like being a fireman or a librarian, and I would always start to imagine what could happen, how I could make it more interesting, and the next thing I knew I was outlining a story about someone else who was living that life. That was a pretty clear sign that I needed my job to be in a creative field, because I would use my imagination whether or not it was necessary.

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