"Sadly, I grew up in something of a bookstore desert. When you grow up poor and marginalized spatially, that is often the case. There weren't bookstores of any kind anywhere near our neighborhood. I had to ride a bus over an hour to reach a Waldenbooks (back when there were Waldenbooks). It wasn't until I was older and had a car that things changed. I found the Montclair Book Center, among other places, a bookstore I still visit regularly.
"But to speak strictly as a writer, I wouldn't be where I am if not for independent bookstores. My first book, Drown, stayed alive, and in turn kept my career alive, because independent booksellers continued to put the book in people's hands long after everyone else had forgotten it. For 11 years, I had no other book and yet indie booksellers kept their faith in me. To them, I owe very much. I'll definitely be in a lot of indie bookstores on this tour, as many as will have me."