What are you working on? What’s on your desk?


I am working on a short story set on an American oil compound in Saudi Arabia. My desk is covered with articles about beheadings, terrorist attacks, and life in Riyadh. Those American ladies on the compounds are wild. They make their own gin and throw pool parties. But a woman can’t drive outside the compound walls. In Saudi, an American woman can drive her SUV around wearing a bikini inside the compound, but as soon as she leaves, she’d better be in a veil in the backseat.

Other items on my desk: index cards with questions for my new novel (Can they get dead body back to U.S.?); plastic cup from my wedding that says “I’M THE BRIDE TO BE… PARTY WITH ME”; a list of cities where I would be happy and the number of hours from those cities to the small town in Colorado where my husband would be happy (San Francisco: 18; Portland: 18; Austin: 19; Denver: 6); Filson Catalog-5 pens and one pencil; datebook; phone book open to listing for “Sitters in a Pinch”; current CV for job I meant to apply for; notepad from Hotel San Jose in Austin; package from my British publisher with the British cover of my new book. It’s a girl in a field with pumpkins. I love it—her expression is sad and creepy—but I’m not sure what’s up with the pumpkins. Coffee mug (full); CD of Avocet, a Chicago band; invitation for a wedding I can’t attend; phone, wish it would ring.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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