I originally got very interested in memory in high school when my grandmother came to live with us. She had been diagnosed with dementia. It was the first time I had heard the word 'Alzheimer's disease.'

Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

I feel like it has gone very fast for me, but I feel like it wasn't instantaneous, at all. I was getting a lot of rejections. I just got very lucky and it happened quickly for me. I don't feel like I'm a prodigy or something.

The most amazing gift about being a novelist is that you get to pursue your curiosity every day.

Growing up, I loved to play. Writing was a natural outtake of play. I realize now, having kids, that maybe that's unusual. Living out in the middle of nowhere, I entertained myself by writing.

That's the power of fiction, that it can take the collective and make it personal.

You need to be imagining all the time, imagining yourself outside the walls of your own skull.

Lewis Robinson's first novel, 'Water Dogs,' is stuffed with snow. Open practically any page of this book, and crystals will shake out.

Fiction writers have long turned to winter to advance bluer palettes, slicker surfaces, and sharper contrasts. The sky darkens, the wind picks up, and flakes start to fall. Horizons shrink. Couples bicker. Cars slide off roads. Obliteration tends to loiter between the sentences.

Without always meaning to, I write really long short stories, 60-pagers, 90-pagers, pieces of fiction that are too long for all but the bravest magazines to print, and too short for all but the bravest book publishers to publish.

All around us right now, tucked into the valleys and along the coasts, bookshops glow in the winter light. Think of them like singular, magical, and multi-dimensional recipe boxes. They wait for us to pluck out a card, to stand over the stove, to start cooking.

Sometimes my readers ask me what else they should read, and I recommend Sebald.

It wasn't until I was 26 or 25 when I started sending work out to magazines.

In my early 20s, a friend and I worked for a few months on a sheep farm in New Zealand. Working with ewes, I learned a lot about the power of wool - how it keeps you cool when you're hot, warm when you're cold, dry when you're wet.

Pretty much every night of their lives, my 8-year-old sons have absorbed themselves entirely in books. As toddlers, they pointed out pictures, made conjectures; lately, we find them in their bunk beds embarked upon two-hour comic-reading benders.

My mom was a high school science teacher for decades. She just never made it feel like we had to choose between the arts and the sciences. We had bookshelves full of novels, and she also had Rachel Carson and Aldo Leopold and Carl Sagan.