Describe your latest book.
News from Heaven is a collection of 10 short stories set in and around Bakerton, the western Pennsylvania coal town that was the setting for my second novel, Baker Towers.
What's the strangest or most interesting job you've ever had?
Cleaning office buildings at night.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
Two come immediately to mind, both by Don DeLillo. The first is from Underworld: "Longing on a large scale is what makes history."
The second is from Libra: "There is a world inside the world."
Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
When I landed in Iowa City in 2000, I couldn't stop thinking of Denis Johnson's story collection Jesus' Son. It wasn't exactly a pilgrimage, since I had other reasons for being there, but I saw his stories everywhere.
What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
My boyfriend's homemade bread, straight out of the oven, with copious butter.
Name the best television series of all time.
HBO's The Wire. It's the best novel I've ever seen.
Who's wilder on tour, rock bands or authors?
Rock bands. (Good Lord, let's hope so.)
Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?
Dogs, of course.
Five great short story collections:
Liars in Love by Richard Yates
You Think That's Bad by Jim Shepard
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
Dusk and Other Stories by James Salter
I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down by William Gay