Writing a novel is hard work, but over the years I’ve learned a few things. With my fourth novel, Bird in Hand, coming out in paperback in the summer of 2010, and another due in a year, I’m blogging about what motivates and inspires me, what tips and tricks I use to keep going, and how I deal with the unexpected. I talk about how I carve out time to write while juggling all the other parts of my life — namely, promoting my new novel, teaching, and raising three boys. I talk about how much I write, and how, and when, and where. I talk about what I’m reading and what ideas and experiences influence my writing. I also feature guest posts by other authors on specific aspects of craft and identity.
Writing a novel never gets any easier; it’s different every time. What remains the same is process – it’s always a matter of discipline and perseverance. Orphan Train, the book I’m currently working on, is the first of my novels that involves an actual historical event and lots of research, which is both exciting and daunting.
I am the author of four novels: Bird in Hand, The Way Life Should Be, Desire Lines, and Sweet Water. (See my website and the HarperCollins website for more information.) I am coeditor, with Anne Burt, of a collection of personal essays called About Face: Women Write About What They See When They Look in the Mirror. I also commissioned and edited two widely praised collections of original essays on the first year of parenthood and raising young children, Child of Mine and Room to Grow. I am co-author, with my mother, Christina Looper Baker, of a book on feminist mothers and daughters, The Conversation Begins. My essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Yale Review, Southern Living, Ms., Parents, and Family Life, among other places.
As Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University, I teach creative writing and serve as an advisor to graduate and undergraduate students. I’ve taught fiction and nonfiction writing, poetry, English literature, literary theory, and women’s studies at Yale, New York University, Drew University, and the University of Virginia. I am a recent recipient of a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowship, a Writer-in-Residence Fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a Fordham Faculty Research Grant to Ireland. I also donate my time and editing skills to a number of arts organizations in New York, New Jersey, and Maine.