You’ve written professionally for over 20 years. How has the digital age changed what you do?
The biggest impact has been in how I spend my time. With the advent of social networking — blogs, Facebook, Twitter — it’s become imperative for writers to stay connected with readers. We all do a lot more marketing and promotion now than we did even five years ago. On the other hand, the writing process hasn’t changed that much: although now anyone with a computer can write a “book” and call themselves an “author,” good literature still takes a long time to create. Art suffers if you try to fast-forward and cut corners.
I could go on for pages here as there are so many. Jerry Spinelli ’63 and his wife Eileen are two of my favorite people as well as two of my favorite authors. They’ve been invaluable mentors in the business as well as the craft. I also love the poets Billy Collins, William Stafford, Emily Dickinson and Mary Oliver, and the novelists Barbara Kingsolver, Erik Larson, Annie Dillard, and Ann Patchett.
FYI: From April 20-May 12 the People’s Light and Theater Company in Malvern, PA is presenting the world premiere of Stargirl, a play based on Jerry Spinelli’s acclaimed novel.