Latest from the Blog

Future Projects

I’m thrilled to share that I have just signed a two-book deal with Guilford Press for a second edition of Method Meets Art & a new research methods book. I’m so excited to work with my friend, editor extraordinaire and methods guru, C. Deborah Laughton. As I have long said, I credit with C. Deborah for launching my career. She is brilliant and has been an incredible champion for my work. And she’s a blast to work with! I’m one lucky writer.

I have a lot of exciting projects in the hopper. Over the next few years I am looking forward to working with the world-class Guilford team for my research methods projects, furthering my wonderful partnership with Sense for my creative and justice projects and continuing my long-term relationship with Oxford University Press for my qualitative work. Very grateful to work with the talented people at these incredible publishing houses.

I’ve been fortunate to work with many editors and publishers over the years. While some authors work exclusively with one press, I have always felt that each project should find the right home and I think this philosophy has served my work well. I have learned from everyone I have worked with and I am truly grateful for all those who have taken a chance on my work. Special shout-outs to Left Coast Press for publishing my most recent work on transdisciplinary and fiction-based research (I am so proud of those books) and Sage for giving me invaluable experience writing for student audiences.

Excited to get writing…

Love and light,




Interview Round-Up

It’s been a busy couple of weeks with lots of interviews about American Circumstance, The Social Fictions series and arts-based research. I can’t capture it all but here’s a round-up of some highlights.

My latest novel, American Circumstance is about appearance versus reality, how our lives and relationships look versus how we experience them, the complex ways that social class and privilege shape identity and the power of friendship. For me, it’s a love letter to the people I grew up with and those who have come in and out of my life, but changed me for the better. I have never been more proud of a piece of work so it’s very special to be able to share it with others. Thank you, thank you, thank you to early readers who have picked it up! I deeply appreciate your support. Huge gratitude to those of you who have emailed, posted reviews or found other ways to tell me you enjoyed it and what it meant to you. So many people have told me they picked it up and read it in one sitting, not wanting to put it down. Wow. Such a compliment. I’ve also been told that the book challenged readers’ assumptions which was something I had hope for so I’m thrilled. Writers need readers so thank you all!

I am honored that my new hometown newspaper, the Kennebunk Post, featured a story about the book. Thank you to Alex Acquisto for a lovely conversation. You can read the story here:

I’ve also started making the rounds on radio to talk about American Circumstance. A special thank you Mary Jones from “The Talk of Connecticut” for having me on her show.

I’ve also been busy talking about arts-based research. As you may already know, book columnist Michelle Arana is doing a series of author interviews with me. I’m really enjoying the process. My latest interview features a discussion of the Social Fictions series. In the interview I compare putting a book series together to how a fashion designer puts a runway collection together. I also compare book editors to shoes. Yup; this is how I think about things! You can read the interview here:

Finally, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy my friend and music columnist, Dr. Adrienne Trier-Bieniek, interviewed me about arts-based research and how ABR and music in particular can help us learn about and improve conditions related to this event. The interview includes some comments about the Paula Deen scandal as well. You can read that here:

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to talk with me about my work, re-post one of these stories or read American Circumstance.

Love and light,


An Intimate Chat: ABR

I was delighted to be interviewed by Dr. Lauren Sardi (as a follow-up to our initial interview with HerCircle e-zine more than a year ago, we caught up, this time for We Are The Real Deal). Our talk covers arts-based research, the importance of public scholarship, the Social Fictions series, a look back at Low-Fat Love, my latest novel American Circumstance, and more. Shout-outs to some of my favorite authors, publishers and collaborators. I hope our chat sheds a light on the need for pubic scholarship, the potential of arts-based research and the rewards for staying true to your artistic vision.

Love and Light,


Examiner Interviews

I am honored that has decided to feature a series of author interviews with me about my books and work as a series developer and editor. I have spoken with columnist Michelle Arana many times over the past couple of years for examiner and other media outlets—she is simply one of the best and I greatly enjoy my chats with her and seeing how she transforms them into wonderful articles.

The first examiner interview features a discussion about American Circumstance. Here is a tidbit from that interview:
“After Low-Fat Love I was fortunate to have the full support of my publisher, Sense, which can be rare. Sometimes when you have some success the “industry side” wants you to keep doing the same thing but of course as a creative person you need to evolve. That freedom from my publisher really allowed me to be creative in terms of both the content of the book and my writing style. I feel that I grew as a writer during the process. But there are always challenges when you’re writing. Things go in unexpected directions, scenes don’t work, and you question yourself. But I know it’s all a part of the process and I was really fortunate to have the support of my local writing group and my weekly writing buddy, Celine Boyle. They provided a lot of support and invaluable comments along the way.”

You can read the entire article here:

Our next interview centered on Low-Fat Love. Michelle and I spoke about Low-Fat Love for a couple of stories in West Valley Magazine two years ago when it first came out so it was a great privilege to be able to have a new conversation now that readers have read and responded to the book. Here is a tidbit from that interview:

”I’ve been very humbled by the experience. I never could have anticipated that the book would be the publisher’s top-selling title or that it would mean so much to readers. Obviously anyone who writes a novel hopes that it will connect with readers. What has meant the most to me are the responses from women who have stopped me in hallways after book talks or sent me emails and letters. They’ve shared their stories about dissatisfying relationships, low self-esteem, even violence in their lives. Hearing how they related to the characters and how the book pushed them to reflect on their own lives has been indescribably touching and inspires me to continue. I think the concept of low-fat love, settling in life and relationships and trying to pretend what we have is better than it is, has really resonated with people.”

You can read the entire article here:

I look forward to more conversations with Michelle and sharing the resulting articles.

Love and Light,


Budapest Keynotes

I’ve recently returned from a glorious trip to Prague and Budapest. I must say, I have never met nicer people. Beyond enjoying the sights, art, food and yes, shopping, I had a wonderful time delivering keynote addresses at two international conferences.

First, I gave a talk titled “Research Informed Fiction: New Innovations” at the New Directions in the Humanities conference. I thank the conference attendees who came to hear me speak and chat with me, despite the exhaustion many felt from the heat wave. I was delighted to finally meet the great Carl Bagley in person. Carl’s work is an enormous source of inspiration, and his book Dancing the Data (with Mary Beth Cancienne) made Method Meets Art possible. Also thrilled to meet Dalene Swanson in person. Looking forward to future collaborations.

Next, I delivered a keynote titled “Arts-Based Research and Technology: New Possibilities for Reaching the Public” at The Arts in Society conference. I was absolutely blown away by the response to talk. The garden conversation that ensued after will fuel me for a long time to come. How wonderful to learn how scholars across the disciplines as well as practice-based artists are making their work public and building in “new shapes.” I felt deeply gratified to be a part of this evolving international community.

My sincere thanks to Common Ground Publishing for putting on these wonderful events and for including me. Special thank yous to Emily Kasak and Katherine Weisbaum.

The conferences may be over, but let’s keep the conversation going.

Love and Light,




ABR Interview

I was asked to give an impromptu interview while at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. The interview was designed to help students who are trying to understand or work with arts-based research. I’m sharing the result of that sit-down in the hope it is of use to others interested in ABR. Here, Victoria Scotti (Drexel University) asks me about arts-based research. There are three short segments:

Thank you, Victoria, for a lovely chat!



Book Releases

This has been a really exciting couple of weeks. Two “babies” have been released, nearly simultaneously. These are projects that have meant so much to me and occupied my days, and I am tickled to finally be able to share them.

American Circumstance (Sense Publishers) is my second novel, and the fourth title in the Social Fiction series. This book is a love letter to the people I grew up with, I hope you know who you are. Although it is written in a fun chick-lit style making it a good beach read, this novel explores appearance versus reality in people’s lives, how our lives and relationships look to others versus what we experience, and a large part of this is how social class shapes identity. Social class is such an important issue with far-reaching consequences and yet it’s often difficult to get at, reflect on and discuss. I think there is a lot that goes unspoken about social class in the United States and I wanted to bring some of that out, including the replication of power and privilege. I also wanted to expose and disrupt stereotypes about social class and provide a subtext about class and gender in a global world, showing how all problems are relative. In light of the economic changes of the past few years, as well as our growing awareness in the US of how inequitable development is cross nationally, it seemed like a timely subject to tackle. American Circumstance also explores issues of friendship, family, sexual violence, healing and the things we say and don’t say to each other. I hope that the book will be read for pleasure but I also hope that professors in the social sciences and gender studies will use the book as supplemental reading in their courses as a springboard for reflection and discussion. American Circumstance is available from all major online retailers but as a thank you to readers, if you buy it from Sense you get 25% off using check-out code 192837: Thank you to Peter de Liefde, Paul Chambers, Bernice Kelly and the entire Sense team for all you have done to see this book to fruition.

I am so proud to simultaneously release Fiction as Research Practice (Left Coast Press). This book offers an overview of how fiction can be used as a research practice across the disciplines. The book includes a discussion about the entanglement of fiction and nonfiction in genres like historical fiction and creative nonfiction, strengths of using fiction to illuminate human experience, how to methodologically design a project, how to access this kind of work and exemplars of short stories, novellas and novels that are all research-based. I’m really excited about this book, although I must confess it wasn’t my idea. Mitch Allen, the owner of Left Coast Press, who is someone I respect and had worked with on another project, approached me with the idea for the book. It was a tall order to write a book like this. There are so many ways one could approach it, and so much of what I read couldn’t be included in one volume. Also, there can be such resistance to challenging commonly held assumptions about facts, truth and imagination. With this said, I didn’t hesitate because it’s important to synthesize, document, chronicle, explain and analyze the work that arts-based researchers are doing. I hope the book is of value to the ABR community as well as creative writers more generally. By the way, if you’re interested in picking up a copy or ordering it for a class, if you get it directly from you automatically get 15% off of all online orders.

Thank you for your support and I hope you love these books as much as I do.


Concordia & CSUN!

I’ve returned from some wonderful speaking engagements. I’ve been so fortunate to meet wonderful faculty and students engaged in innovative work, and as always, I am changed by the experience. I’m completely energized by the conversations and creativity and humbled by the generosity of those who invited me to their campuses.

First I had a fantastic time at Concordia in Montreal. Thank you to the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture: Qualitative Research Group for inviting me! I gave a public talk about transdisciplinarity and arts-based research, followed by a Q&A and then a smaller talk to the working group about using abr as a pedagogical too. Mark and I had a WONDERFUL time at lunch too. Thank you to everyone for making my visit so special– special thanks to Rosemary Reilly, Shannon Hebblethwaite, and the bookstore staff for arranging the book sale. Also, a special hug to Anita Sinner– our conversation was magical and uplifted me greatly. Hope to return to Concordia and keep in touch with you all!

Next I was off to LA for a two-day visit at California State University, Northridge. I was honored to be invited by the Sociology Department as a  colloquia speaker. I gave a public talk on arts-based research and my novels, Low-Fat Love and American Circumstance. Such a generous audience– with a thoughtful question session that only ended when others needed the auditorium! The intimate lunch with faculty the following day was an absolute delight. I learned about the wonderful work being done at CSUN by the terrific sociology faculty. The Q&A about my work, during lunch, had me reflecting on my work in ways I greatly appreciate. Terrific questions about what inspires me as a creative person and what tensions I experience as an arts-based researcher. I left feeling completely energized and inspired. A huge thank you to Laura Edles, Moshoula Capous-Desyllas and the bookstore staff for arranging the book display and sale. I hope to visit CSUN again!

Some people on the road and elsewhere complimented me by saying I’m a “great ambassador for arts-based research.” I can’t think of a better compliment. I love writing and building spaces to house not only my work, but that of the many others who inspire me. I feel deeply honored to have the chance to speak with different groups about this evolving field and I take the opportunities seriously. Thank you, thank you, thank you to those that have so warmly welcomed me to their campuses. I am changed by the experience.

Love and light,


Low-Fat Love #1: Thanks!

Sense Publishers has announced that Low-Fat Love was their top selling book in 2012. There are many to thank for making this possible. First and foremost, thank you to all those who have read the book on your own, shared it in book clubs or brought it into courses you teach. As a friend of mine once said, writers need readers, so thank you. As my first novel, writing LFL was a special experience. I am deeply touched that the book has been so well-received. I hope the book’s messages about self-worth and not settling in life or love continue to speak to readers.Of course I am grateful to Peter de Liefde (owner of Sense), Paul Chambers (marketing) and the entire Sense team. Thank you to the world’s best assistant , Shalen Lowell and publicist extraordinaire, Lynn Coppotelli (Smith Publicity). LFL was based on a decade of teaching and interview experiences so my appreciation to all of my former students and to the interviewees who shared their stories with me. There are many personal thanks too; you know who you are.

As a proponent of arts-based research, for its ability to reach broad audiences and create empathy and reflection, I am delighted that Low-Fat Love and the Social Fictions series of which it is a part, are thriving. Blurring genres, like fiction and non-fiction or art and research, can be challenging in many ways, including finding publishers willing to fund the work. I hope this paves the way for more arts-based publications.

Love and light,



LFL is available for purchase here:

Normal in Schools

I am delighted to announce a new collaboration with Normal Life which a wonderful organization devoted to eating disorder education, body image, self-care and self-esteem through the arts. The work they do is amazing and is closely alligned with mylong-terms areas of interest.

I will be writing a monthly blog called Low-Fat Love 101 for their award-winning blog network called We Are The Real Deal. Each month my blog will feature a low-fat love lesson. You can read my first post about “Diet Relationships” here:

I am also participating in a charity auction to raise funds for Normal in Schools. I have donated three signed copies of my novel Low-Fat Love and a 1 hour Skype book club meeting (we can talk about LFL, publishing or Normal in Schools). You can bid here:

So honored to be working with this terrific organization!