Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
This is one of my favorite questions. I was at a low point in my life—my two younger children had just left town to attend college, and suddenly I was living alone for the first time in my life. During what was an extremely quiet fall, I found myself yearning for what I have often yearned for in my life—an older, wiser, educated woman who could help me better manage such changes. So I created Emma Daines, a 72-year- old reclusive American hero. At the time, she was an alchemy of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who wrote one of my favorite books, Gift from the Sea; and Dr. Judy B. Rosener, a professor at the business school at UCI who inspired Emma’s wit and charming personality. But after a while, Emma took on a life of her own and became a great source of comfort.