Frequently Asked Questions

Why did you become a writer?

Being raised in “anything but ordinary” surrounded me with the most amazing “real-life” stories. My father was larger than life, and I was raised in the extreme. Every day was an adventure. I witnessed the power of his words, and I was enchanted. Though I tried to be more pragmatic about my career choice, ultimately that magic is what drew me in. There was never a time when I didn’t carry a story within me, have a character who wanted to come out, or hold a belief that needed to be expressed. Writing is not so much a choice as it is a necessity.

What is your favorite part of writing?

There is a place in every story when the characters become real. They simply walk off the page and do something completely unexpected. I’m always surprised and thrilled. At times, they have veered sharply off the course I have carefully detailed for them and refuse to return. No matter how hard I try and force them back to the fold, they simply won’t listen. It is then that I realize the story is no longer my own. When I’m immersed in writing the novel, I wake up every morning wondering what surprises they have in store for me today.

How did you get interested in writing this book?

As a child, I was indoctrinated into an extreme form of Catholicism. My father was one of the founding members of this group in Chicago. Convinced the apocalypse was close at hand, he packed up his family and several other community members and started a religious commune in the mountains. As a result of those early experiences, I became interested in “cult-type” or extremist religions.