More About the Author
Hello, all! I was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in a neighboring town.
I knew from an early age, eleven or twelve, that I wanted to be an author. When I was a child, one of my favorite activities was spending quiet hours in my room writing short stories (come to think of it, that is still one of my favorite activities). I also reveled in make-believe games with my two brothers; I remember pretending to be pirates and ghostbusters and jewel thieves and deep-sea miners. Those early, fanciful imaginings no doubt gave me creative fodder for the books that I've written, and the books that I hope are still to come.
As an undergraduate at Yale University, I gravitated toward history courses, particularly the history of the U.S. during the 1930s. From a literary standpoint, the economic, cultural, and social turbulence of that era'the sense of being on the brink of vast and permanent change'appeals to me. Two of my books, Death of a Circus (Red Hen Press) and On Borrowed Wings: A Novel (Atria) are set in the '30s, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed the research almost as much as I enjoyed the writing.
I also have a strong interest in the politics of identity, perhaps stemming from my hodgepodge ethnic background. My father is from India and my mother is of Swedish, Italian, and English descent. The seemingly contradictory urge to explain my racial identity, and to get past simple, often superficial or misleading categorizations, inspired me to create Mixed: An Anthology of Short Fiction on the Multiracial Experience (W.W. Norton), a book I edited and contributed to. Mixed, the first anthology of its kind, includes original pieces by acclaimed authors such as Danzy Senna, Cristina Garcia, Rebecca Walker, Mat Johnson, Ruth Ozeki, Marina Budhos, Diana Abu-Jaber, and Peter Ho Davies. It's an arresting read, and the feedback I've received can be summarized this way: if ever there was a collection of short stories that is both stunningly diverse and universally sympathetic, Mixed is it.
Having lived in New York, Arizona, and Washington, DC, I've returned to Connecticut, where I now reside with my husband, a native of Odessa, Ukraine, and our young son. In our spare time, we enjoy swinging in our backyard hammock and sharing stories. In a way, I feel like I've come full circle.