Describe your latest book.
In 1975 I was a naïve hippie. While working at my uncle's bar in Illinois, I met an apple farmer and three months later we were married. I fully expected to live this kind of back-to-nature, granola existence. Having babies. Growing and canning all of our food. Instead, I found myself swimming in pesticides and shunned by my new husband's family, living an isolated existence in a 400-square-foot house. The Orchard is told mainly through the eyes of my 20-something self. It's a fish-out-of water, up-close-and-personal examination of '70s and '80s farm culture from a raw perspective.
What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
Scooby-Doo. Because I have the feeling he wouldn't be judgmental. Of course I'm talking about a purely platonic relationship.
What's the strangest or most interesting job you've ever had?
I worked at a Levi's Strauss factory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I sewed back pockets on jeans. You know that little red or orange logo? I sewed that too. Spread the fabric over machine's flat surface, pocket positioned at marks. Hit the gas with your knee, stop, add logo, hit the gas again, all the while country music is blaring over loudspeakers. The girl at the next machine has false eyelashes, and fabric dust sticks to them. By the end of the day, her lashes look like cotton balls.
What is your astrological sign? If you don't like what you were born with, to what sign would you change and why?
I'm a solid Libra. I'm all about balance. I'm all about creativity, harmony, peace, love, and understanding.
Share an interesting experience you've had with one of your readers.
Back in 1988, I received a lovely fan letter from a woman. She and I are still good friends. I think that's kind of remarkable.
Name the best television series of all time, and explain why it's the best.
That's tough because I have several, but I must settle on Twin Peaks. And really, just think about it. David Lynch. In our living rooms. Every week. That in itself was a fabulous gift.
If you could have been someone else, who would that be and why?
A cat. Not the feral cat I'm trying to catch that I call Rotten Eye, but a pampered cat. Pampered cats have the perfect life. Do nothing but sleep and eat. And the fatter they get, the more people love them.
Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?
Cats. See above.
If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see direct it?
Lars von Trier, Errol Morris, or David Lynch. Lars von Trier would create something moody and disturbing and poetic. David Lynch would capture rural America with all its oddity. Errol Morris would create something straightforward and unblinkingly honest. Oh, and what about Paul Thomas Anderson?
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
Five great books on nature and the environment:
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss