Born and raised in Redondo Beach, California, I moved to Indiana in 1982 and received my MFA from Indiana University. Teaching first at DePauw University, then the University of Cincinnati, and finally the Ohio State University, I lived in the Midwest for thirty years before retiring with my husband, the poet Andrew Hudgins, to Sewanee, Tennessee.
My fiction, both comic and dramatic, comes back over and over to certain besetting concerns: how does the place we live affect the world we see and the choices we make? What does an ethical life look like, and how in the world do we build it? One way or another, just about all of my work comes back to these questions. I can’t seem to figure them out. I like to write about priests, and about dogs, though typically not together.
One way or another, just about all of my work comes back to these questions. I can’t seem to figure them out. I like to write about priests, and about dogs, though typically not together.
My most recent novel is Better Food for a Better World, which my editor persuaded me to subtitle A novel, to keep it from being shelved with cookbooks. Before that I published The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard (a novel), The Good Life (stories), The Baby Tree (a novel), Lies of the Saints (stories, and a New York Times Notable Book for 1996), and Bodies at Sea (stories). My stories and essays have appeared in such magazines as The Atlantic Monthly, Good Housekeeping, The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, STORY, The Georgia Review, and many others. A Stegner Fellow at Stanford University from 1988 to 1990, I have also received fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council and the corporations of MacDowell and Yaddo. And I have a fatal attraction to coconut cake.