What motivates you to write?
An irrational drive to give lasting and meaningful shape to the experience of life is what motivates me to write. The satisfaction comes from engaging other people with the result of the effort, or, failing that, or in addition to that, in the consciousness of having written the best prose I can. If my words cause people to smile or grit their teeth or anxiously knit their brows or to ponder, that’s a rewarding engagement. Still, apart from that, it’s satisfying to see something in your own way and to crystallize that vision in penetrating prose.
What made you decide to forego traditional publishing?
That feels like a trick question. Honestly, whatever I offer about publishing has to be understood as coming from someone who’s had the experience several times repeated since the late 1980s of trying to “get” a literary agent and “get” a publisher. From the manila envelope to the iPhone, I’ve seen the changes in how things are done, but I’m not well qualified to speak about traditional publishing from the inside. By the same token, of course, you wouldn’t expect me to greatly lament the disruptions to the industry.