864352_373288566f1c1afccc738833313c88d1.jpg_srz_315_442_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzI love the title of your new book!

Thank you! I didn’t think of it. It was originally called–


I just love mermaids.

It’s actually a rusalka, which is the mermaid of Slavic folklore. They are these kind of spooky, spectral siren figures that are the souls of wronged women – illegitimate mothers, brides left at the altar, pregnant suicides.  So the mermaid in the book is a kind of a spirit. In my first draft I didn’t even mention the word “mermaid.” I had this idea it would be like Zone One, that great Colson Whitehead zombie novel that never once says zombie in it. But then I remembered I’m not Colson Whitehead.

9781451678284Before I died the first time, my husband left me broke and alone with our two tiny children and it made me feel very depressed, etc. It’s the same old story: He went to buy cigarettes and never came home. Really. Wouldn’t you think you’d want to pack a bag or two, leave a forwarding address? Couldn’t he have at least taken the dog? These were the things I wondered in the beginning. Not: was he having an affair, or: was he mixed up in something nefarious, but: I can’t believe he wouldn’t bring his datebook, his favorite loafers; I can’t believe he didn’t change the lightbulb in the hallway before deserting us. He knew I couldn’t reach that lightbulb. The whole thing was unlike him. Then again, I was the one who died, which was unlike me, too.