…a darkly atmos­pheric work exam­in­ing the last­ing power of love, loy­alty, and fam­ily secrets. Read­ers who enjoy Annie Proulx and Kent Haruf will find sim­i­lar themes in Lundrigan’s work. A pitch-perfect novel… a triumph.”

Amer­i­can Library Association’s Book­list, Starred Review


When­ever I’m work­ing with a char­ac­ter, the ques­tion I always want answered is Why? No mat­ter how ugly an action might appear on the sur­face, I want to under­stand my character’s rea­sons or moti­va­tion. If I had to boil down my drive to write (and some­times, it’s a slog!), it is this never-ending need to slip into some­one else’s con­scious­ness and to grasp their perspective.

After The Widow Tree was pub­lished in 2013, I took a short break from writ­ing. I felt drained of ideas. The sen­sa­tion reminded me of that head-struck feel­ing after sit­ting for an intense exam. Only it refused to fade. Grad­u­ally, though, I began devel­op­ing ideas about a par­tic­u­lar per­son. This indi­vid­ual did some­thing with such pre­ci­sion and appar­ent cal­lous­ness, I started to lis­ten more care­fully and make notes. Why did you do that? How did you become that way? I began writ­ing in first per­son, as I wanted to move through that trou­bling world and explore. This per­son is, I feel, the most com­pli­cated indi­vid­ual I have ever tacked down to paper.

Peo­ple have asked me: Where do your ideas come from? In the past, I used to attempt a sen­si­ble response, but now I admit, it’s dif­fi­cult to explain. I gen­uinely feel these char­ac­ters are com­pletely dis­tinct from my thoughts and my expe­ri­ences. They come from my imag­i­na­tion, of course, but they are also dis­con­nected from me. I never impose judg­ment. Instead I strive to remain a pas­sive, but very curi­ous observer. I ask a ques­tion, and I see what happens.

The name of my lat­est man­u­script is But­ton But­ton. The title came to me when I was describ­ing a stan­dard party game where some­one hides a but­ton inside another’s fist, and chil­dren take turns guess­ing who has the but­ton. In this novel, there is so much hid­den, both among char­ac­ters, and in terms of them­selves. Do we ever really know each other? Do we ever really know ourselves?

If you would like to read an excerpt from the first chap­ter of But­ton But­ton, please click here. And feel free to read sam­ples of my pre­vi­ous nov­els: Unrav­el­ing Arva, Thaw, The Seary Line, Glass Boys, and The Widow Tree.

Happy 2016!




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