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Marisha Pessl —
born on October 26, 1977,
Marisha Pessl is an American writer best known for her debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics... (wikipedia)
I think every writer has a book that haunts them, and on some level, every book you write is a reaction to it. 'Lolita' is that book for me. Nabokov's love of wordplay, descriptive detail, artfully complex plots, and his themes of obsession and lost love, are inspiring.
In America, people of a certain age ask, 'Where were you when Kennedy was shot?' In my house you were more likely to be asked, 'Where were you when you first read 'The Catcher In The Rye?'
I believe writers need to be chameleons, or like Meryl Streep, who can play all sorts of characters. A good writer should be able to cross gender lines and people of all social classes. So for me, writing from a male point of view would be a great challenge, that I would look forward to taking on.
I hate to think of a day where a compelling book or a compelling authorial voice would be lost simply because that person doesn't have a Web site. But I think that, to use the Internet in a positive way, to turn people on to reading, is something that authors shouldn't really shy away from necessarily.
Occasionally when I'm procrastinating writing, I'll while away the hours on iTunes. You can just keep going forever and find these bands you'd never normally hear of.