Hello and welcome to my website—

I hope you’ll stroll (and scroll!) down the forest path to find information about me, my books, articles I’ve written about the craft of writing, and book reviews I’ve written. There’s a link to contact me, and I hope you will.

Few things in life have been as interesting or necessary to me as literature and writing.

Few things in life have been as interesting or necessary to me as literature and writing.

I feel fortunate that as an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, I was a student of Louis Rubin, Jr., founder of Algonquin Press. He opened up the world of writing for me and encouraged me in his gruff way! At Stanford, where I was a Stegner Fellow, I had the honor of studying with Wallace Stegner, the great man himself. I’ve published four books: two short story collections, a memoir and a novel. I’ve recently completed a new novel, The Empty Cell, about four characters who are impacted by the lynching of a young black man in my hometown of Greenville, S.C. I hope the novel will be available in 2020. If you’d like to be on a mailing list to be notified when it’s published, send me your email address via my contact form, and I’ll be happy to let you know. Thank you for visiting my website.

Paulette's Books

I’ve sometimes joked that my books all have different fathers. But now that I think about it, Feeding the Eagles and Unforgettable have the same parentage: They’re both collections of autobiographical short stories. Crossing the Moon is a memoir about the conflict I had in my late thirties over wanting to have a child and wanting to be a writer. The Answer to Your Question is a novel about a mother who is blindsided when her son is accused of the murder of four young women.

Feeding the Eagles

Feeding the Eagles is about loyalty and honesty, attachment to people and place, love and the inevitable losses of life.

Crossing the Moon

A woman’s struggle to have a child yields a joyful surprise- the birth of a new self.

The Answer to Your Question

After raising her son as a single parent, Inga Daudelin, reserved and steady, has accepted her somewhat lonely, quiet life, until she is blind-sided when her son is accused of the murders of four young women.

Unforgettable: Short Stories

The nine stories in UNFORGETTABLE: SHORT STORIES are about the presence of the past, the power of memory, and the enduring nature of love.

Paulette's Craft Articles

During my years of writing and teaching, I’ve written many pieces about what I’ve learned, especially from other writers, about the art and craft of writing. I hope you’ll find something of interest here.

Vivian Gornick on Situation and Story

  In her short book called The Situation and the Story, Vivian Gornick describes one of the most useful and…


Henry James’ Weak Specification–eek!

  I live in fear of weak specification.  I consider it the eighth deadly sin: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust,…


Russell Banks’ Descriptions and “Try Harder”

I’m reading the new Russell Banks’ novel, Lost Memory of Skin, and I’m pretty enthralled with it. I’ll review it…


Louise DeSalvo’s Stages of the Writing Process

  In an earlier post (July 24, 2011) I mentioned Louise DeSalvo’s excellent writing book, Writing as a Way of Healing,…


William Sloane on Density in Writing

  I want to follow up on the post on “Shape in Writing” with a related subject, which is density…


Shape in Writing: What is it and How do you achieve it?

Sometimes when I’m critiquing a piece of writing, I find myself trying to describe the indescribable. There are certain concepts…


Elizabeth Bowen’s Brilliant, Impossible Notes on Writing Dialogue

I had intended this piece to be about how brilliant Elizabeth Bowen’s notes on dialogue are, from her essay “Notes…


“Brainey” Ways to Write a Novel

I wish one (or more!) of you would tell me how to write a novel. I’m trying to write a…


Show AND Tell

“Show, don’t tell” is probably the most well-worn saw in teaching creative writing, supposedly originating with Aristophanes.  It’s not bad…


Writing a Book-length Memoir

For starters, you’re going to be overwhelmed. We might as well get that up front. Writing--or trying to write a…


A Writer Learns about Creative Process from Two Artists: Hopper and O’Keeffe

“So much of every art is an expression of the subconscious, that it seems to me most of all the…


Examining a Passage from The Goldfinch

I posted earlier on the brilliant, beautiful novel The Goldfinch.  I had to do so in broad swaths, given how…


The Goldfinch: A Brilliant, Beautiful Novel

A friend and I were talking about hyperbole in book blurbs and reviews the other day (I confess I don’t…


The Silent Wife: A Fascinating Novel Both Psychologically and Technically

I first became interested in The Silent Wife in when I read an August 4th, 2013  piece in The New…


A Hologram for the King: a Terrific Novel by David Eggers

I read a terrific novel while I was on vacation: Dave Eggers’s Hologram for the King.  Since I bought the paperback…


Geoff Dyer’s Out of Sheer Rage: Writing Our Own Non-Studies of D. H. Lawrence

Geoff Dyer’s Out of Sheer Rage [Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence] is just about the best non-study of D.H. Lawrence that…


Darin Strauss’s Memoir Half a Life: What Did He Owe the Zilkes?

This week in the online memoir course I’m teaching, the students are working on characterization, both their own and that…


Rachael Hanel’s “We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter” plus Two Questions

The cover of Minnesota writer Rachael Hanel’s memoir, We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a…


The Still Point of the Turning World: A Moving and Uneven Memoir

Emily Rapp was a creative writing student of mine at St. Olaf College in the early 1990s.  She was an…


The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers: a Mixed Review

I’ve been putting off writing a review of The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers’ novel about the Iraq war.  It was…


Contact Paulette