About the Author

Michelle Blake with a horseWhen my daughter graduated from college, our family gift to her was a trip to the Sawtooth Mountains and the River of No Return, in central Idaho. She had seen a series of photographs of the region and its people, taken by the photographer Laura McPhee, and had been so moved by the landscape and faces that she vowed to get there someday. From my point of view, this was an excellent gift, because I got to go with her. The picture of me with one of the horses was taken on our last day at the Diamond D Ranch, a hidden gem of a guest ranch inside the Frank Church Wilderness Area, the largest wilderness area in the lower forty-eight. That morning, two deer came up and fed at the trough with the horses. Linda, one of the owners, told us they had come to say good-bye.

Art doesn't need to serve some useful function, but despite itself, it often does. A photography show drew my daughter and me to Idaho for one of the great adventures of our lives. Dorothy Sayers's novel Gaudy Night introduced me to the possibility of a life of the mind, for women, where books and thinking and truth held sway over the polite lies and pincurls of my southern upbringing.

I've been a writer for all of my adult life, and most of my childhood. I wrote poetry for the first fifteen or twenty years (depending on when you start counting), and got my MFA degree from Goddard College in Vermont. Once I graduated, I became director of that program and taught literature and writing in the undergraduate degree program, as well. A few years later, I founded and directed the graduate writing program at Warren Wilson College. Later, I attended Harvard Divinity School, where I got my Master of Theological Studies and for a short while considered seeking ordination in the Episcopal Church. Instead, I switched from poetry to fiction and wrote a mystery series that features Lily Connor, a priest and activist in Boston.

This was the right choice. I would not have been a good priest. I am happiest when left alone with a good book or a blank page, or both, which is not to say I don't like people. I do. Most of the people I've met are trying their hardest to do the right thing, and that is not easy.

I have just finished a new novel that is not part of the Lily Connor series, though it does include an art heist and a psychic. I'm also working on a collection of short essays, titled Grown Children. The title appealed to me for a lot of reasons, but mainly because: one, I now have grown children and I like the perspective from here; and, two, it's what we all are--grown children--and that fact has become clearer to me the older I've gotten. I live in rural Vermont with my husband, the writer Dennis McFarland, our dog, our children and their many friends, when we can lure them up here.

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