Interview with Author Mary Ann Rivers

A confession: I get really nervous at Q&A sessions. Dallas has this super series called Arts and Letters Live. I love attending; I cringe during Q&A—it’s agony. (I also switch off NPR when they open it up to callers.)

So I was super squirmy when Amy Jo Cousins interviewed me. And I’m even squirmier interviewing Mary Ann Rivers. Because. Wow. Eeep. And all the squee.

Speaking of all the squee—I share cover space with some incredible writers in SUMMER RAIN: Ruthie Knox, Molly O’Keefe, Cecilia Tan, Charlotte Stein, Mary Ann Rivers, Amy Jo Cousins, Audra North, and Shari Slade. But I am even prouder to say that 100% of all proceeds from this volume of Love In The Rain go to benefit RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization.

So, without further ado…my interview with Mary Ann Rivers.

AH: I really enjoyed Rainy Season—though “enjoyed” seems so tepid. And, honestly, your Dear Reader letter grabbed me by the heart. I confess to re-reading it several times, putting it down, walking away from my eReader, and coming back to it.

You’re so generous with your readers, in all your stories, and, ultimately, your characters learn to be generous with themselves. This is powerful to me. And very much appreciated.

You are so smart. I like your brain. I love reading your stories because I always learn something. Like, I had to google cumulonimbus (and the image results: wowza!). I know cumulous; I know nimbus; I didn’t know cumulonimbus.

And Mark explains math in a way that made so much visceral sense, I called my math-teacher friend and read her the passage aloud. We marveled. (Had someone explained math to me that way, way back yonder, it’s possible I could have conquered the world by now!)

Um….I guess I don’t really have a question about that. Maybe this “interview” is really just me gushing and fangirling. 

So, um, Ms. Rivers, do you have anything you’d like to share with me/us about that non-question?

MAR: I am so pleased you felt moved to share the math parts with your math-teacher friend. My experiences with math teachers have been overwhelmingly positive.

I have always enjoyed math, and have been lucky to have an affinity for it, and to have had work where I use different kinds of math on a regular basis, and have had the chance to teach a theoretical math course, myself. I am oriented to narrative, so when I've thought about math and explaining it, I find I always tell myself, or others, little stories. Math is a kind of language, of course, and the math teacher character in my story has very strong feelings about math's ability to explain things.

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