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Author Spotlight: Mary Rickert

You often say your fiction is fictional but springs from events and things you observe. What inspired this story?

Yes, of course my fiction springs from what is observed, whether externally or internally. What I recall of the process of writing this story is that I went to the library and collected a pile of books on things that interested me such as butterflies and mythology. The writing was a process of discovery. Nothing was planned. I picked out the girl’s name, Lantanna (which is a bush that attracts butterflies) and went on from there.

Why did you choose to have Emma, the girl who observes, die in a self-started fire?

The best answer I can give is that, actually, I am the one who observes and this is what I observed happening.

Lantanna tries repeatedly to communicate with Quetzl. Were you surprised when she finally completely opens up and he rejects her, or did you have that in mind from the start?

I was surprised.

This was your first published story. What do you think has changed about your writing in the years since?

I hope I’ve gotten better.

You published your first novel, The Memory Garden, to much acclaim this year. Are you working on another novel or have you returned to short stories? Anything new forthcoming?

I’m working on another novel and a few short stories. The audiobook of The Memory Garden, narrated by Tavia Gilbert, came out from Blackstone Audio at the end of December. I am quite excited about this. I haven’t heard it yet and can’t wait to listen to what Tavia does with it: blackstonelibrary.com/the-memory-garden.

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Lee Hallison

Lee Hallison

Lee Hallison writes fiction in an old Seattle house where she lives with her patient spouse, an impatient teen, two lovable dogs, and the memories of several wonderful cats. She’s held many jobs—among them a bartender, a pastry chef, a tropical plant-waterer, a CPA, and a university lecturer. An East Coast transplant, she simply cannot fathom cherry blossoms in March.