Thirty years ago I was a student at Cal State University at Bakersfield, CA. where I met Dr. Kim Flachmann, English prof extraordinaire, and head of the college’s writing program.
One of the first things I did when my novel “Everywhere She’s Not” was out was send Dr. Flachmann a copy of it, because . . . she’s awesome, and I’ve never stopped being grateful for everything she helped me learn about writing.
She has also remained, I know, an uncompromising critic. So . . . I knew I’d also be letting myself in for that, but whatever. I still wanted her to read the novel, because of course.
Here’s the letter Dr. Flachmann wrote me a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t particularly eager to share it, because it was a private email. But I asked her if I could, and she said yes, absolutely and of course, so . . . here’s what she wrote me:
I just finished Everywhere She’s Not, and I’m sitting on the couch with tears running down my face. It is absolutely sensational. I love the content; I love the form; I love your voice as a writer. One of the many ways I respond to books as I read them is to rewrite sentences, think of changes I would make, and add missing words or images. One of the many reasons I love this book is because I wouldn’t change a word of it. You always say what I expected or something better. Your word choice is masterful. Your tone is masterful. Your story is masterful. And your mind is the most masterful of all. I can’t imagine unraveling this entire story the way you did, and creating it is a work of genius.
It took the virus to give me time to finish it, and I loved every word of it.