More About the Author
When my daughter graduated from college, our family gift to her was a trip to the Sawtooth Mountains and the River of No Return, in central Idaho. She had seen a series of photographs of the region and its people, taken by the photographer Susan McPhee , and had been so moved by the landscape and faces that she vowed to get there someday. From my point of view, this was an excellent gift, because I got to go with her. The picture above was taken outside the town of Stanley, after a week at the Diamond D ranch, a hidden gem of a guest ranch inside the Frank Church Wilderness Area, the largest wilderness area in the lower forty-eight. I look sad because we were leaving the next day, and I knew I would miss the beauty and the people.
Art isn't required to serve some useful function, but despite itself, it often does. A photography show drew my daughter and me to Idaho for one of the great adventures of our lives. Dorothy Sayers's novel Gaudy Night introduced me to the possibility of a life of the mind, for women, where books and thinking and truth held sway over the polite lies and pincurls of my southern upbringing.
I've been a writer for all of my adult life, and most of my childhood. I wrote poetry for the first fifteen or twenty years (depending on when you start counting). During most of that period I taught writing and literature, and founded and directed a graduate writing program at Warren Wilson College. Later, I attended Harvard Divinity School, where I got my Master of Theological Studies and for a short while considered seeking ordination in the Episcopal Church. Instead, I started a mystery series that features Lily Connor, a priest and activist in Boston.
This was the right choice. I would not have been a good priest. I am an impatient perfectionist who prefers to be left alone with a good book or a blank page, or both. I have just finished a new novel that is not part of the mystery series, though it does include an art heist and a psychic. I live with my husband, the writer Dennis McFarland, in rural Vermont, and our two grown children, when we can lure them home.