My goals aren't really commercial success.

Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

I think fiction is important because it has the power to transport a reader into another life.

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.

I guess you could say I've been writing all my life.

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.

I subscribe to the theory that reading a book is similar to walking a trail, and I'm most comfortable walking when I can see where I'm going and where I've been. When I'm reading a printed book, the weight of the pages I've turned gives me a sense of how far I've come.

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.

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

I had the little Radio Shack crystal radio, and then my aunt Judy bought me a shortwave radio. It was amazing to me: like on these really clear nights - I lived in Ohio - I could get Texas or Florida. You felt like the world was a smaller place.

In my students, I'm always dispelling the notion that characters come like a light bulb over the head in cartoons. For me, it's like a shapeless big lump of clay. You just build it into something, and then you step back and go, 'That's not right,' hack it apart, put out a new arm, and say, 'Maybe this will walk around and work.'

My parents would drive us to Florida every spring in this big old, rusy Suburban, and we'd collect stuff on the beach for our aquarium back in Ohio; we had this big saltwater aquarium back in Ohio. Every time we found anything, any mollusk, my mom would bring out the guidebook and quiz us on what it was, so that stuff was built in early.

Indeed, every book on my shelves is a key to a little vault of memories.

Short stories are not maybe the biggest deal in our culture anymore.

I was reading C.S. Lewis with my mom, and she was pointing out that he was dead, and I'm like, 'What do you mean he's dead?' We were in this world he created, and he was gone from the Earth. Yet in those black marks on a white page, his imagination lived on, his voice lived on. That is so miraculous.

My mom is a science teacher in high school, and one of my brothers works in optics at Bell Labs, and so I was always surrounded by it.