Craft essay at Literary Hub: on fire, loss, and writing.

This last December, the same week advance review galleys were landing in mailboxes, my in-laws’ house burned to the ground in the Ventura county Thomas Fire. I think even without my novel being titled what it is, I would have found it troubling to sift through the ashes of their house, picking up charred books that crumbled through my fingers. But there was something next-level about knowing I had a book about fire about to come out.

Thank you to Literary Hub for letting me write about it.

The opening line of How to Set Yourself on Fire: “It’s the third day of a wildfire to the east and we’re all used to the smell by now.” On the first day of the Thomas Fire, over 150 homes in Ventura burned to the ground, and that smell stuck around for nearly a month.

I imagine the look on my mother-in-law’s face when she holds my book for the first time, thinking about the house they bought when she was 21. Will she be able to read chapter 52? Will she make it past the first page? Will she make it past the first line?

Read the rest here:

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