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  • Why I Write...Karen Traviss: Science Fiction

    Every writer’s been there. You’re introduced to someone, he or she asks what you do for a living, and you hesitate.

  • Why I Write...Donald Fagen: Focus on Music 2013

    Why I write? Different reasons, I think. But the first time I remember writing something—this was for my high school newspaper—it had to do with revenge, I think.

  • Why I Write...David Tanis

    Cooking can be a kind of self-expression. Aside from the obvious purpose of providing nourishment, cooking may inspire a mood, and, under the right circumstances, be positively transporting, for both the cook and the diner.

  • Why I Write...Robyn Carr

    Every once in a while I get a letter that goes something like this: “I’m thinking of writing a book. When can I expect to see it in the bookstore?”

  • Why I Write...John Harwood: Mysteries 2013

    Writing fiction is the hardest, the most frustrating, the most rewarding, the most exhilarating work I’ve ever done, or can imagine doing.

  • Why I Write...Allen Barra

    I’ve never asked myself the question of why I write, for fear that I wouldn’t be able to answer it.

  • Why I Write...Bruce Feiler

    My name is Bruce Feiler, and I’m an explainaholic.

  • Why I Write...Edward Lee

    Edward Lee, author of the forthcoming book, Smoke & Pickles, discusses his love for both cooking and writing.

  • Why I Write...Oliver North: Mysteries & Thrillers Fall 2012

    Combat Outpost Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Oct. 16, 2012—It’s been nearly 48 hours since we have been able to send or receive e-mail. Now that we’re back inside a U.S. base with access to the Internet, my inbox is full of mail—all requiring immediate response. The question above—“Why Do I Write?” relayed by my publisher, Simon and Schuster—is at the top of the stack.

  • Why I Write...Sarah MacLean: Focus on Romance: Fall 2012

    I’m not entirely sure why I write.

  • Why I Write...Carol Miller: Focus on Music 2012

    It’s easier for me to write than speak.

  • Why I Write: Michael Dobbs: Military Books 2012

    I am not the kind of writer who derives physical pleasure from the act of writing.

  • Why I Write...Tyler Florence

    The Food Network chef shows "how beautiful, simple, and, of course, delicious fresh food can be."

  • Why I Write...Laurann Dohner: Focus on Romance 2012

    I have always been a huge lover of books. I blew through the children’s section before I hit my 10th birthday and was given parental permission to borrow any book in the library. I discovered horror, mystery, and eventually romance novels. I could easily read 20 to 30 books a week during the summers, consuming entire series. In my teens I wrote poetry for fun, and I read a romance novel when I was 22 that totally upset me. The main characters made me angry, and the woman chased after this total jerk I hated. I thought I could write a better story.

  • Why I Write...P.L. Gaus

    My purpose in writing the Amish-Country Mysteries is to illuminate Amish culture in a mystery novel, where everything about a person’s culture, family, mindset, and motive is pertinent to the solution of the mystery. Quite naturally, I have often been asked why I write murder mysteries about Amish people, who are arguably the most peaceful Americans anyone knows, and my answer is always in two parts. First, Amish society is endlessly fascinating, and it deserves to be better understood. Second, crime fiction gives us one of the best vehicles in popular fiction to explore the human condition.

  • Why I Write...Maureen N. McLane

    I write poetry as a mode of inquiry, of response, of sounding out, of feeling out, of thinking through, of joining in; I write poetry to communicate and not to communicate—for as D.W. Winnicott wrote, “it is joy to be hidden but disaster not to be found.” I write poetry because “I have wasted my life” (James Wright). I write poetry because, as Mahmoud Darwish said, as Valéry said, a rhythm seizes me.

  • Why I Write...R.A. Dickey

    My first memory of being drawn to literature came in the seventh grade at Montgomery Bell Academy, an all-boys school in Nashville, Tenn. We were studying the poetry of Robert Frost and Edgar Allan Poe. I remember being mesmerized by Frost’s use of iambic tetrameter in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and Poe’s use of alliteration in “The Raven.” It was the first time in my life that written words moved me. Then and there, I began to be captivated by writing. I started penning my own poetry—casting consonance aside—and tried to capture my thoughts and feelings about life in poetic form. At my teacher’s urging, I entered a haiku in a regional competition and wound up winning. When they announced my name, I thought it must’ve been a mistake.

  • Why I Write...Pico Iyer

    I write—though perhaps it sounds pretentious to say so—to make a clearing in the wilderness, to find out what I care about and what exactly to make of it. Every day so many experiences, feelings, incidents, encounters crash in on us, and every morning I retire to my desk to make a kind of sense of them, to put them into a larger frame, to find out what my priorities should be.

  • Why I Write: Ted Allen

    In My Kitchen showcases the relaxed side of Food Network star Ted Allen, host of the cutthroat cooking competition Chopped. Here, he shares the story of the less-glamorous half of his career: the writing life.

  • Why I Write...Sara Paretsky

    Years ago, when I was in my 20s, I heard an interview with the composer Aaron Copland. The interviewer asked why it had been more than a decade since Copland’s last completed composition. I thought the question was insensitive, but Copland’s answer frightened me: “Songs stopped coming to me,” he said.

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