Childhood. I grew up on a farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a wonderful place for the horse-loving girl that I was. I used to take long rides in the fields and woods behind our farm: my horse shuffling through fall leaves; catching a glimpse of a fox and surviving a close encounter with a skunk; slogging through fields of mud in March; inhaling the early-evening fragrance of honeysuckle.
My most interesting job. I taught humanities at Diné College, the tribal college of the Navajo Nation, in Shiprock, New Mexico. Most of my students were the first in their families to attend college. It was an enriching experience to interact with the Navajo people and their culture, which, until a few generations ago, was primarily based on oral tradition.
My best vacation. A few years ago I went to Ireland and fell in love with it. My most vivid memories of that trip: The landscape checkered with fields bordered by hedgerows and stone walls. Vistas of rolling hills and mountains and dramatic seacoasts softened by luminous, misty air. Castles and other relics of history. Delicious, fresh food, and friendly, helpful people.
Passion. I border on the fanatical when it comes to eating organic produce, grass-fed meat, and eggs from pasture-raised chickens. One of the first things I did when I recently moved back east was to go online and find organic produce farms and farms that pastured their livestock and chickens.
My best buddy, or—am I his servant and he my master? My cat Bibs. I rescued him from under my office trailer at Diné College, and he has thanked me with years of companionship and entertainment. One of his most amusing habits: if I’m working at my computer in the afternoon, he comes into my office between 4:30 and 5:00 and annoys me. The message: it’s time to quit and feed him.
My favorite books/authors. First on my list of novels is Pride and Prejudice. Other classics I thoroughly enjoyed: Middlemarch, Jane Eyre, and David Copperfield. As for contemporary authors, right now I’m journeying through Robin Hobb’s epic fantasy series about FitzChivalry Farseer. My favorite historical novelist is Bernard Cornwall.