Award-winning Author, Associate Professor of English at Texas State University
Tell us about a woman who is your hero and why?
I’m sure this is a common answer, but my mom is a pretty special lady and a very tough nut. She’s incredibly resilient, terrifyingly hardworking, smart, and wickedly funny. If I’m ever having a rough day, thinking about what my mom has accomplished—and what she’s overcome—puts things in perspective quickly.
What motivates you in your work and life?
In my writing life, I’m still mostly motivated by the intrinsic meaning I find in creating art—which is a good thing, since most external validation is pretty fickle and fleeting. With my teaching, I’m motivated by the joy of watching young writers begin to define themselves as artists and critics: learning how to recognize, articulate, and enact their literary values, while also learning how to usefully critique the work of those whose literary values differ from their own.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Nobody’s paying as much attention to you as you think they are. You can learn things this way.