The sweet glow keeps Georgia on my mind: when a cheesehead reads in the Peach State

Inman b and b yardHave you ever felt unaccountably drawn to a city, country, or continent you’ve never visited before? Have you ever journeyed to a foreign, unfamiliar place and yet felt perfectly at home? I’m just back from a mini-book tour of Georgia and wondering about these questions. This is one of the very great things about being a published and public author: not only do I get to meet readers and future readers, something I love to do, but I’m traveling to parts of this country I might not have gotten to visit otherwise—New Paltz and Woodstock, New York (Yes, THAT Woodstock!); Nashville, Tennessee; Athens, Georgia to name a few.

Georgia charmed me. What a flirt! Even with her dirty face and smeared lipstick, she was all soul. My plane touched down in the dusky Atlanta twilight, and after an endless, color-deprived Wisconsin winter, the first thing I noticed was the glorious lushness of the landscape. Every shrub and sapling seemed to be flowering, and the scents intoxicated. Ancient willows and huge old oaks sashaying in the wind were the trees in the childhood fairy tales books I wished to inhabit. I might be romanticizing here, but it was hard not to fall in love with Georgia.

Georgia seduces you with her melancholic, regal and faded glory. Avidrdng-Janna Dresden Alice and Bruce kent silverWe know she lost the Civil War to us damn Yankees; we know internally she still carries herself like a queen and we can’t forget that once she ruled like a queen, but now Georgia is everywhere diverse, a stew of the peoples, and diversity—of ethnicities, genders, ages, and incomes—certainly gives a place soul. Maybe losing a war and burying a way of life along with the dead makes for a kind of graciousness and humility wrought out of sorrow we Midwesterners can’t quite know.

This is all speculation on my part, of course, but when I think of Georgia now I see the South of Alice Walker and Carson McCullers, the grand and not-so-grand houses with their commodious porches where the elders rocked and waved howdy to their neighbors. Those porches still exist as do the friendly and welcoming howdy-dos.

Friendliness was in the atmosphere from the moment we checked in near midnight at the Athens Marriott Courtyard. The jovial desk clerk was not only unfazed by our late arrival, she proudly gave us details to AthFest, Athens’ yearly music festival and street fair occurring that weekend. With a hug, she sent us to bed.

John Olive at AvidguyI’m a hugger (including a tree-hugger!) and a hand-holder and have been known to give near strangers an affectionate kiss, so I fit right in with the local custom of appreciative smooches and cheek-pecks. Hmmm—how to say this? Are Southerners more erotically (as in Eros) connected than the rest of us?

I’m also happy to report friendliness took the form of genuine enthusiasm for The Conditions of Love, a novel set in the Wisconsin that has nothing Southern about it. Janet Geddis, (owner), and Rachel Watkins, (events coordinator and local politco), and staff at Athens popular Indie bookstore Avid Bookshop (with help from new writer friend Sara Baker, and Janna Dresden and Ron Cervero), did a fabulous job of pulling in an enthusiastic group who might have otherwise skipped off to hear a band at AthFest. Those of you who know me know how much I love to talk about books, writing, and the creative process with audiences, and the folks who showed up at Avid’s were both wonderfully attentive and great question-askers. One question that I’m often asked, and was asked in Athens, is what motivated me to write fiction after studying to write poetry. The answer is definitely a blog-post in the making!

bob the duck at Inman b and b crIn Atlanta, I stayed at the historic Inman Park B & B and was hosted by the ever-hilarious Eleanor and her heartthrob, Bob the Duck. (No kidding!) Inman Park is the place to go if you’re interested in historic mansions. Right around the corner from my B & B was Windcrofte, the spectacular mansion once owned by the Woodruff family of Coca-Cola fame.

My friend from VCFA graduate school days, Liza Nelson, brought out the crowd at A Cappella Books. I’d promised event coordinator, Courtney Conroy, I’d bring genuine Wisconsin cheese curds (the brilliant idea of my local PR maestro, Danielle Dresden) to lure an audience. Who would have guessed that the humble and unsophisticated cheese curd is exotica to Southerners? dalecourtney conroy acappella crCharis Books in Atlanta, one of the oldest feminist bookstores in the country, where I signed a few copies of The Conditions of Love, also rolled out the welcome mat in style.

Merci and gracias to all including Marti, owner and chef of Marti’s at Midday in Athens, closed for lunch the day we arrived at her door. Nonetheless, the ebullient Marti ushered us in, showed us around, then after a firm embrace sent us to chow down at another local wonder, The Grit.

I conclude that I must return to Georgia to further explore its memorable juju of hospitality, warmth, and soulfulness. Does a place reflect our inner world? Can we find out more about ourselves by investigating certain places? I think so. A great deal of our identity is tied to place, but we are so much more than our hometown selves. In the past, I haven’t been a reader of travel memoirs. Now I may become one. Book suggestions?

How Blog Tours Can Break Your Heart

Right now I’m just beyond the halfway point of  my 13-stop “blog tour” celebrating the publication in paperback of The Conditions of Love (it began May 5 and ends June 6) and I’m thinking this is as good a time as any to pause to catch my breath and reflect on what’s transpired.

BlogTourI somehow thought that a “blog tour” would actually involve me showing up at different blogs, much as I have over the past year at various bookstores, for readings and discussions of the book. What “showing up” at a blog meant I wasn’t quite sure but I was extremely pleased that thirteen bloggers—from Hawaii to Texas to Florida–signed up for my tour. Imagine how exhausting if I actually had to travel to visit each one!

As it turns out, what a blog tour means is that a blogger agrees to read TCOL and to post her (yes, all hers, as far as I can tell) review on her blog on a designated date.  That has certainly meant less wear and tear on me, even virtually. And it has also meant that I’ve been on the receiving end of such a steady and surprisingly moving stream of reactions, that my head sometimes starts to swim. Let me share a few.

Brenda at Daily Mayo kicked things off by finding a “sort of hidden current underneath the events in the story” and feeling that TCOL was “sort of dream-like” but still realistic. I loved that! Don’t we all feel that sometimes? Our heads keep us in the here-and-now but our hearts lead us to a timeless place. Eunice would no doubt agree.

On Bibliophiliac Lisa wrote a long and loving review, describing TCOL as being written in a “lush style, driven by character and voice” and “the farthest thing from a formula romance novel,” a comment I treasure. I have to say that all the books I value are “character-driven,” meaning that you feel you are experiencing the decisions the characters are making as you read. Lisa made me realize that that’s the only kind of book I would know how or want to write—engaging in the process of discovering the characters is what makes the writing satisfying. Lisa also picked up on the mythic aspects of the book, something I hope we’ll be pursuing at greater length in a follow-up interview [watch this space].

Heather, the Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World (in South Florida), was most affected by the intense mother-daughter dynamics in TCOL. She shared that she “was raised by a divorced mother in borderline poverty, my mother sacrificed for us kids and did everything she could for us.” Eunice and Mern reminded her of other kids she knew growing up, kids who weren’t so lucky: “Kids who never had enough—enough food, enough attention, enough schooling, enough guidance, enough love, enough of anything except perhaps more than enough hits and barbed words thrown their way—and kids who grew up way too fast.”

What I’ve discovered in reading these blog reviews is how deeply personal their reactions are, how much they reveal about themselves as they write. Few reviewers in mainstream media share as much. Heather found TCOL “heartbreaking and uplifting.” I’d say the same about her review.

I’m not going to march you through every review but I want to share some of my favorites. BookTourConditionsLove2At the Kahakai Kitchen blog, Deb in Hawaii doesn’t just review a book [she called TCOL “gorgeously written”]. She pores through the book looking for details which will inspire a related dish. She found four instances of ice cream (I forgot there were so many) and so came up with “Mint Chocolate Chip ‘Nice’ Cream.” “Wanting to bring a bit of Rose (Eunice’s earth-mother rescuer and nurturer) into the mix, I chose to add fresh mint as well as a touch of (local island) honey to round out all of the flavors and represent Rose with her herbs and bees.” It will be hard for me to eat ice cream from now on without thinking of Deb’s flavorful review.

So many of the bloggers have been so dear. Anita of Anita Loves Books in Florida tore me up when she wrote “When I finally began to love this book, about 40 pages in, I couldn’t stop reading it.  I was praying for Eunice’s happiness and safely, so much of her life she appeared to be in great peril.” And Mandy of Knowing the Difference in Georgia totally charmed me with her comment: “The writing flows so effortlessly, the words so vivid and smart, I was whisked away with the words and the story line.” But it was Marisa of Missris in Pittsburgh who truly stole my heart by highlighting one of my favorite relationships: “The way [Eunice] talks to the turtle, who is sometimes her only companion, and then makes the turtle (who is also named Eunice, also by her mother) respond to her, again almost breaks my heart.”

Who knew there was so much close, loving reading going on in these blogs? I suppose that’s as much the point of the blog tours as promoting each new book. I would love it if this post helps bring some attention and appreciation to them. That would only be giving them back in kind what they so generously gave to me. The complete list of the blogs on my blog tour is below, with links. Do check some out.

Monday, May 5th: Daily Mayo

Wednesday, May 7th: Bibliophiliac

Friday, May 9th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World

Tuesday, May 13th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, May 14th: Kahakai Kitchen

Thursday, May 15th: Anita Loves Books

Monday, May 19th: Knowing the Difference

Wednesday, May 21st: Missris

Thursday, May 22nd: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Friday, May 23rd: Sweet Southern Home

Tuesday, May 27th: Love at First Book

Monday, June 2nd: The Relentless Reader

Friday, June 6th: Books a la Mode

Whither Spring?


What’s on my mind these days is spring, SPRING! shouted in capital letters into the milky-white March sky. My call and response goes like this:

Dale: Spring, are you there?

Melodious Spring replies: I’m here. I’m on my way.

Dale: Jeez. Can you hurry? Tulips, daffodils, warblers—PLEASE!

Laura Rock Art Cape York Australia-645518-rock-art-thomas-georgeAm I the first human on my knees beseeching the heavenly spheres? Not likely. How reassuring, how intimidating and yet AWE-some must it have been for our primordial ancestors to converse with the vast Divine. How comforting to feel the abiding presence of cyclical time, the predictability of seasons, the endurance of species assured and unquestioned, the shifting angles of the sun and the pull of the moon felt in one’s bones.

TCOL ppbk_hi-res And I have to admit to another reason I want it to be warm and inviting everywhere. The new paperback edition of The Conditions of Love will be sprouting on bookshelves come May. In the book world, paperback editions are truly thought of as a new life for a book. May this be so for TCOL, and may it reach many new readers here and abroad. I’ve just added links to the pre-order pages for the paperback on my home and book pages, if the mood strikes you. [Nudge. Nudge. Wink. Wink.]

But back to Spring! As far as I can tell, in the Midwest its span has been shrinking for decades. Last year the ice wasn’t out on our north woods lake until mid-June, almost a month later than usual, the chill air suddenly bolting into summer. This rapid-shift forty-to-eighty degrees seasonal pattern forces buds to mature and unfurl with unprecedented quickness. lake_ice_melt_sunset11_7463 Gnats and no-see-ums whirl in knots while islands of ice still pattern the woods. The change in weather is kind of freaky, gut-deep alarming, as is the disappearance of frogs in our shallows. But what to do except shrug, sigh, stay green, pray?

Delayed or not, at least we still have seasons. Just this morning I hung a bird feeder filled with fresh thistle seed and the next time I looked, two lovely goldfinches, a bright yellow male and a muted female were plucking at seeds.

Spring feels like a season of surprises, maybe because it lifts the mind into imagining possibilities. sunflower-crow-kathleen-a-johnson That the rose bush will sprout its pinky buds is no surprise, but what volunteer weed or flower will pop up near the spruce? Two years ago my front yard was adorned with giant sunflowers of varying russet and gold hues undoubtedly sown by crows from a nearby farm. The whole concept of renewal, of starting again, of rebirth ushers in hope that has thinned during long, gray winter days.

Spring is going to be a busy time for me, an exciting time. I’m so honored to be one of the keynote speakers at University of Wisconsin-Madison Writer’s Institute Conference (April 4-6). You can view the program here. I’ll also be meeting privately with students and teaching a poetry workshop.

In May, I’ve been invited to be the featured speaker at the Friends of the Madison Public Library’s 17th Annual Book Club Café on Thursday, May 22 at 7 pm. This will take place in the gorgeous Olbrich Botanical Gardens amid tea and desserts.

I’ll be writing more about these later. For now, I’d like to recommend a poem very much of the almost-but-not-quite-yet season by my friend and one of my favorite poets, Jack Ridl, “Here in the Time Between.”  Here’s a tease from it:

Here in the time between snow
and the bud of the rhododendron,
we watch the robins, look into

the gray, and narrow our view
to the patches of wild grasses
coming green. . . .

Great review in The Rumpus

Eunice, Mernie, Rose, Fox, Sam and the rest are over-the-moon happy about this fantastic new review by Kevin O’Kelly in the August 20th edition of The Rumpus. Stay tuned for more on my thoughts about his in-depth reading of the book, its mythical aspects and the power of names.

Would love to have your comments!

My post on Marshal Zeringue’s Blog Writers Read

1316794888_50_large1Writing my previous entry about Susanna Daniel reminds me that I did a post about what I’m reading several weeks ago for Marshall’s blog. If you’d like to read my thoughts on discovering Alexander Chee’s “hauntingly lyrical” Edinburgh, diving into Adrienne Rich’s “eloquent and empathic” A Human Eye: Essays on Art in Society, 1997-2008, or delving into the depths of The Ability to Mourn: Disillusionment and the Social Origins of Psychoanalysis by Peter Homans, Writers Read is the place to go.

What my new friend Susanna Daniel said on Writers Read about TCOL

Susanna Daniel 320x432I just met the wonderful Susanna Daniel several weeks ago and am completely humbled and delighted by the great things she’s saying about The Conditions of Love.  I haven’t had a chance to read her just released second novel, Sea Creatures, but when I do I’m sure you’ll hear from me about it.

Susanna kindly included The Conditions of Love among the books she cited on Marshall Zeringue’s delightful Writers Read blog:

I’ve just finished Dale M. Kushner’s broad and impressive debut novel, The Conditions of Love, and I’m stunned – stunned – that I’m not hearing about it every time I pick up a newspaper or open a browser. It’s a classic, sweeping story of a girl’s life and the relationships that define her, from birth to old age – exquisitely detailed, finely paced, deliciously ambitious.

It’s Wild!

I was checking out at Whole Foods when I heard a friendly voice yell, “I love your book!” And there was Elizabeth, the checker two aisles down, grinning and waving. How cool is that? How wonderful to be surprised in surprising places by readers. It’s really wild. I took a photo op in the middle of Whole Foods. Here we are, mugging together!


Interview on WORT Public Radio

Rusty RussellI love how people come back into our lives when we least expect them. An old hippie friend used to say: some folks leave their imprints on your aura. Not sure about auras but I love the metaphor. I started The Writer’s Place in Madison in the late nineties and Rusty Russell—of poetry slam fame—was one of the first writers to contact us. In one life he was and is an economist for the Department of Transportation and in another, a poetry wild man. I say this with the utmost respect for writers who are also great performers.

I hadn’t heard from Rusty in years until he recently called me to do an interview with him on Radio Literature. I met him at the old WORT studio—I remembered the funky furniture, posters of Che and Dylan still on the walls. We talked about the writing process, writers as observers, how, as writers, we are constantly trying to balance our domestic and creative selves. I talked about my character, Mr. Tabachnik, and his world-view that “from the terrible beauty comes.” And then I read a short passage from the book. Here’s the link below.

WORT Interview (interview starts at 2:56)

Communing with readers at Arcadia Books

arcadiawindoI’m way overdue reporting on my joyous reading at Arcadia Books in downtown Spring Green, WI on a beautiful Sunday afternoon on June 23. Spring Green is a destination point for Frank Lloyd Wright fans who come to tour his Wisconsin home,Taliesen, and to see the fabulous American Players Theatre repertory company do Shakespeare, Miller, Brecht and other classics, but Arcadia Books should be a destination all on its own.

The store opened in 2011 and I gather is part of a very intriguing trend. Arcadia doesn’t just offer books. It also has a café with a decidedly local flavor. “The Kitchen” features Wisconsin beer and cheese and its pizza even uses locally sourced flour! I love that the chef uses cookbooks from the store to teach “Cook the Book” cooking classes.

John Christensen and Dale crThis should be a model for how local stores can thrive. Little signs dot the store, “Read it here. Buy it here. Keep us here.”  Housed In what was once the Spring Green post office, built in 1872, with high ceilings and big windows, Arcadia has a wonderful small town ambience. The store takes its name from the Tom Stoppard play, a favorite of its owner, James Bohnen, who also frequently directs plays at the nearby American Players Theatre.

In addition to great food, I’m sure one of the reasons Arcadia is such a popular community hangout is the geniality of its manager, John Christensen, who immediately made me feel right at home. He claims that Arcadia has “the best poetry case in the state,” which of course endeared him to me.  arcadiaaudienceIt was so sweet to see the reading room fill with interested, animated locals, coming to hear me read when they could be anywhere else on such a sunny afternoon. These were true readers, which I came to appreciate as they peppered me with questions. One that really made me think was something like “How did I deal with an editor’s suggestion to revise or cut material?” I responded truthfully: for every cut or revision I asked myself, Will this add to or diminish from the integrity of the whole? How does the editor’s vision line up with mine? Some of my decisions came easily, I realized, but to address some queries I had to shift things around before I was satisfied.

ArcJim_neilI owe a lot to readers like this one who help me understand my own process in hindsight. My gratitude to such thoughtful folks and their beguiling curiosities.  But back to Arcadia Books! If you happen to be near Spring Green, be sure to put it on your list of places to visit.

One of the Ten “Best Damn Books of 2013 (So Far)”

Cortnee Howard mosaicCortnee Howard is the creator of the irreverent and infectiously addictive literary blog, The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog, where she has been interviewing authors, reporting on publishing news, and reviewing new works of fiction for some five years now. Recently, she compiled her list of “The Best Damn Books of 2013 (So Far)” and I’m thrilled and honored that she selected The Conditions of Love to be one of them. Thanks, Cortnee! And what a great crew to be part of. Now I’m eager to read my nine damn buddies.

Books That Changed My Life

What a task! Choose three books that changed your life. That’s what Jeanne Kolker from the State Journal wanted from me. It was hard. The three I chose were The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank; On Lies, Secrets, and Silence by Adrienne Rich; and The Lover by Marguerite Duras. You can read why I chose them in WSJ’s “Just Read It” Sunday column.

But before I was a reader, I was a listener; I was a little girl with a vivid imagination and a penchant for fairy tales. The horrible, beautiful, compelling pitch of Claire Bloom’s voice reading Snow White is still in my ears. Likewise, I can still hear the tremulous narrator of Peter and The Wolf. These were on old vinyl records my mother played for me. I’m musing now—did these enchanting introductions to story and voice and to the musical sounds of words give birth to my writer-self? How I became a writer is still a mystery to me!

What books changed your life?

Being interviewed

The thing about being interviewed is that it IS all about you, which takes some getting used to! But now that I’ve been interviewed by two skillful, thought-provoking radio talk show hostsI’m looking at you Anne Strainchamps and Stephanie LecciI’m accumulating a list of WHY I ENJOY BEING INTERVIEWED.

Of course, it starts with the interviewers. When Anne asked me at the top of our 45-minute chat for 45 North, “what’s your book about?” I had to laugh. How could I possibly condense everything into a short sound bite. But, you know, it’s good to be asked to focus on what the story is and what was it that kept me wanting to return to these characters every day for so many years.

Stephanie had many great questions as well. When she asked me whether Eunice learns how to deal with loss – well, that just reminded me what’s so great about novels. You get to spend time with the characters and see how they change over time. In the third section, I believe that Eunice learns how not to get stuck in the pastshe finds how to cultivate things that bring her joy. And I realized that I didn’t know it was going to turn out that way when I began. And that’s what great about writing novels.

But the best part of being interviewed is that these two incredibly perceptive readers connected me with a whole universe of other readers who I suspect—and hope–will see some of themselves in my story. Most of us write because we have a story to tell. That story, however personal or fabricated, emerges from our shared human experience. Mother troubles, love-life dilemmas, accidents, illness: my story is also your story in a slightly different version—is also her story, his story, their story.

Writers may work in solitude, but we are connected by invisible means to the pulse beat of humanity. Being interviewed has put me in touch with just how true this is. After one interview, a usually reserved and private woman approached me and whispered, “That happened to me too.” This is what most fiction writers live to hear: how our imaginations have created a world so rich and complicated it feels like real life.

If you haven’t read the book, I’m hoping you’ll hear something in these interviews to make you want to give TCOL a spin. And if you have read it, I’m curious whether your takeaways in any way resemble mine. In any event, take a listen and let me know what you think.

My interview with Anne Strainchamps on 45 North —  June 14, 2013

My interview with Stephanie Lecci for Lake Effect WPR (WUWM) — June 28, 2013 



“A divine understanding of the ties that bind” — syndicated love from EDGE

Have you ever heard of syndicated love? EDGE is this company based in Boston that has websites dedicated to cities all around the country– Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and 13 other cities. Kitty Drexel, one of EDGE’s book reviewers, wrote this spectacular review of The Conditions of Love a few days ago and it’s now posted on all of these 21 sites. Talk about getting the word around. Who knew this kind of phenomenon existed? Here’s my favorite part:

Kushner has a divine understanding of the ties that bind people in relationships. The Conditions of Love is rife with truths about man’s equally selfish and selfless need to experience love in its many forms. Eunice might be the central player, but the hero of this tale is Love. Eunice experiences many kinds of loss. Before and after each misadventure she seeks solace in the stable relationships of her past and present: Mr. Tabachnik, a kind neighbor; her adopted guardian, Rose; Sam, a misguided role model. Although she may often be lonely, Eunice does not experience the destitution of abandonment.


Kushner’s writing consists of equal parts reverence for the human condition and sympathy for the pain that is a necessary part of that condition. This novel is an engrossing read and difficult to put down.

You can read the entire review here. .

“Stunningly self-assured” says Bookreporter!

Josh Mallory’s long, lovingly detailed, and quite positive review on Bookreporter really knocked me out. It’s quite a thrill to see the story and my characters get this reaction. Here’s some of what Josh wrote:

With her debut novel, THE CONDITIONS OF LOVE, poet Dale M. Kushner has created a layered examination of love in all its forms and how it impacts and shapes one girl in the late 1950s and early 1960s from childhood to maturity.. . .

This is a book that begs to be read slowly. Kushner’s history with poetry serves her well. Her prose causes the reader to slow down and relish the words. She utilizes the five senses throughout the book, which gives the reader a sense of real intimacy with Eunice. She beautifully recounts the physical act of Eunice’s neighbor, Mr. Tabachnik, putting on an opera record, and then she tops it by describing the powerful music washing over a young Eunice.

THE CONDITIONS OF LOVE is an engaging story written in a lyrical style. It’s a stunningly self-assured novel for a debut, and it leaves the reader hoping that Kushner will write a second.

You can read the full review here.

Jeanne Kolker interviews me for the Wisconsin State Journal

On Sunday the Wisconsin State Journal published Jeanne Kolker’s interview with me about The Conditions of Love. Jeanne asked such thoughtful questions. It’s funny. Every time I talk with someone about the book, a differently phrased question seems to open up a new path into the story. I’m thinking of Jeanne’s last question:

SJ: What sort of themes do you think people will pull out of this book?

DK: I guess it’s a bit of a Rorshach, it means something different to every person. The reader co-creates the book in her head. Everyone is interested in love. The novel covers the difficulties of the love with families, it covers friendship, it covers erotic love and devotion. I can’t imagine what life hasn’t been touched by these themes.

You can read the full interview here.

Debbie Haupt interviews me for The Reading Frenzy

I never anticipated how answering questions about The Conditions of Love would send me down paths I hadn’t explored before. Debbie Haupt’s thoughtful and provocative questions in the interview we did for The Reading Frenzy summoned responses that surprised even me. We talked about mentors, Jung, and the difference between poetry and fiction, among other things. Here’s an excerpt:

DH: The Conditions of Love is your debut novel yet you’ve written in other mediums like poetry and short stories.
Would you say that it was a natural progression for you to become a novelist, or was there a particular event or catalyst that led you down this road?
DK: Moving from poetry to fiction might be a natural progression but I’m not sure. For me it was more like moving from a hammock under the stars to a house with a kitchen and bath! By that I mean the inception of poetry seems to require a dreamlike solitude, an emphasis on contemplation but also a wide-focus, associative mind. Poetry is less time-bound than fiction and relies on the sensuous and metaphoric qualities of language and on image. To tell a story, I needed a different kind of language. I needed to work in time and place using the devices of fiction. But I wouldn’t trade the hammock for the house or visa versa.
No single event sent me from one genre to another. I’m still a polymorphous writer!
You can read the full interview here.

“Engrossing to the end,” says AP. And this is just the beginning! Publication day is here!

Here it is publication day and I’m delighted to be able to share with you the splendid review Kendall Weaver wrote for The  Associated Press.

Kushner’s scenes, like her characters, are expertly sketched, vivid and memorable. . . . Engrossing to the end, this is a fine first novel.

Because it’s syndicated, this review has already been picked up by The Washington Post, the Huffington Post, The Miami Herald, and many other newspapers and websites around the country. What a great thing to happen on publication day!

You can read the whole review here.

“From poet to big-time novelist”– interview in Isthmus

I had a wonderful time chatting over coffee with Becky Holmes a week or so ago about The Conditions of Love and my creative process. Isthmus published her piece about our chat last Thursday. I especially like how she found aspects of the story magical: :

The Conditions of Love has a magical quality. Kushner describes it as a fable. Yet this coming-of-age story about a teen girl, Eunice, and her search for love doesn’t seem like a fable at first. There are no anthropomorphic animals, no obvious moral lessons. But a careful reading reveals how Kushner uses elements of fable and myth to cast a spell on her readers, taking them to a place that both is and is not the rural Midwest of the 1950s. , , ,

You can read the entire interview here. But please consider what I say about Facebook already outdated. I can prove it: come like my Facebook Fan Page!

Please check this out.

I’m happy to share this with you. Please check out Fifth Wednesday. It’s a great journal.

My Essay in The Nervous Breakdown

I’ve been thinking for some time about female role models and am delighted The Nervous Breakdown published this piece.