You’ve only ever written nonfiction, except for that bad college poetry. What made you think you could write a novel?
I didn’t mean to. I sat down one day and wrote this thing that was not a magazine article, not anything I was being paid to write, then I added to it the next day, and the next. It was a dream sequence about a woman imagining her friend’s last moments on a doomed plane. That became the beginning of chapter three, and it never really changed. Until I admitted to myself that I was writing a novel, I thought it was a cathartic journal entry about my friend who’d been on Flight 11 on Sept 11th. It was her first business trip after her maternity leave, and I became obsessed with the notion of legacy, and how we all die with bits of our story untold.