I was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin and read voraciously as a child. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Here’s my first author photo at age two.
Japan and Vietnam
I moved to Japan to work as an English teacher. From Japan, I went to Vietnam to research the tunnels my father explored as a tunnel rat during the Vietnam war. After my trip, I began writing about the experience. Each afternoon, I went up to the library and wrote a few pages by hand. These early pages would eventually become my first book, Falling Through the Earth.
Iowa Writers Workshop
With the pages I wrote in Japan, I was accepted to the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop, where I was awarded an MFA in Fiction. Learn more about what it's like to attend The Iowa Writers Workshop
The Michener Copernicus Society of America Fellowship
Before my first book Falling Through the Earth was published, it was nominated by my mentor James Alan McPherson to whom I will later dedicate my novel The Puzzle Master. Learn more about the award.
My first book is published
Falling Through the Earth, a memoir about my relationship with my father is published. It appeared on the cover of The New York Times Book Review, whose editors chose it as one of the Ten Best Books of the Year, and was widely reviewed. A highlight for me was the legendary Maureen Corrigan reviewing the book on Fresh Air. Click here for more information about Falling Through the Earth.
I’ve been interviewed for radio and podcast dozens of times (see podcast links below), but my first recorded interview was on NPR about my first book. Listen here
After years of suffering from Francophilia, I moved with my family to France. We lived in Aubais, a small village between Nimes and Montpellier. Events that occurred here later inspired my memoir The Fortress.
Four years later, my first novel, Angelology, is published. Translated into over 30 languages, Angelology becomes a New York Times and international bestseller. It was featured on the cover of The New York Times Book Review and was chosen as one of the Best 100 Books of the Year.
Angelopolis, the sequel to Angelology, is published and becomes a New York Times bestseller. Purchase Angelopolis here:
My second memoir about the breakup of my marriage, is published. I wrote the entire first draft by hand in six narrow-ruled notebooks while living in the West Village of NYC. Listen to this discussion about how the act of writing this book helped me find a way through it. Read an excerpt of The Fortress here. Purchase The Fortress here.
My tenure as a book columnist at The New York Times Book Review begins. Read some of my columns below: A Dark Cavalcade of New Horror Fiction Spine-Chilling and Flesh-Crawling: The Latest Horror Fiction
A novel that O Magazine called “One of the Best Gothic Novels of All Time” is published a few weeks after the pandemic lockdown begins. I turn to podcasts to get the word out (see podcast list below). Purchase The Ancestor here.
Together with my husband, Hadrien Royo, I developed a ten part sci-fi audio drama called CRYPTO-Z. You can listen to the whole thing here:
The Puzzle Master
My new novel will be published in the US June 13th of this year. It will be published simultaneously in France and all Spanish speaking countries, and will follow in Germany, Japan, Italy and many others. I learned this spring that it is the recipient of the 2023 Prix Bête Noir des Libraries in France, and has been described by Kirkus says that “The Kabbalah meets The New York Times Crossword Puzzle in a brainy thriller” I had the good fortune to speak about The Puzzle Master with Dan Brown. You can watch that conversation here: