1. Do your Kentucky roots have anything to do with your interest in horses?

None whatever.  I didn't grow up in Kentucky and while I didn't dislike horses, I did not especially like them.  I have come to like them more now, but I didn't write the book for that reason.

2. You've taught a lot of college students. Does a writing student ever really surprise you with a great unexpected leap of insight, or ability? Or are they mostly knowable from the beginning?

Oh, no, they are rarely knowable from the beginning, maybe never.  It doesn't even have to do with quality.  Even a bad story can be surprising in its secret character, and the depth of what it is trying to achieve.  People's ideas and passions and the way they try to express them are interesting.  But yes, sometimes students also surprise me with an unexpected leap. 

3. You don't have to answer this but I'd be very curious to know what you think of Hillary Clinton. In whatever aspect.

My feelings are a little too complicated to write of here.  Overall I admire her.  I suspect she is a little like a frog slowly boiled in water, in terms of what has happened to her in politics.  However I tend to agree with Michael Moore, that she is at her core still very idealistic and that she will try to redeem that part of herself if she is elected. 

4. Please name three books you love from different periods in your life. (Childhood, teenager, adult.)

Childhood:  Peter Pan 

Teenager:  Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen

Adult:  Lolita

5. What comes to mind when you hear the word Hoboken?

The good parts of the 1980s!