Sunday, September 11, 2011


When asked to recite a favorite quotation, mine is always the same: "There are years that ask questions and years that answer." - Zora Neale Hurston

On a day that stands in history as a marker of both tragedy and courage, like many I'm inclined to spend some time reflecting on the last decade. Rather than make assertions about global or national states of affairs, my thoughts today are about individual experience.

2001 was a bad year in my life. I was in the middle of a three-year stint working in Indianapolis, and my mind and heart were stagnating at work. Since my teens I've struggled with chronic depression and in the second half of 2001 that condition overwhelmed all aspects of my life. I took a leave of absence from work and went home to reassess my life and try to find the sense of purpose I'd lost. From that place of emotional struggle came some of the best decisions I've made. I realized that my passion for learning needed further attention and I determined to return to school full-time in pursuit of a doctorate. I learned that depression isn't something that can be ignored, but requires healing and vigilant self care.

In 2002 I applied to graduate programs. In 2003 I moved to Minneapolis and started work on my Ph.D. Four years later I finished my degree and began a fantastic job teaching history at Macalester College in St. Paul.

But the story of finding a path to my true passions and goals didn't end there. After one year of teaching at Macalester, in early summer of 2008, I was in a horseback riding accident that left me with a broken foot and orders to stay off my feet for twelve weeks. Stuck in my house and on the couch, I decided to pursue a long-delayed dream: writing a novel.

The next summer my fabulous agents at InkWell sold my debut novel NIGHTSHADE to Penguin.

After 9/11 it felt like the world was ending, and for most of 2001 I'd felt like my own life was in ruins too. But life is always unfolding. Years to come will have answers...and there will be more questions...which brings to mind another favorite quote:

"If you're going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill


  1. Andrea I'm truly touched with your post. Sometimes for us that suffer from depression its wonderful to know I'm not alone at fighting my demons. I'm so happy that you fought hard like I did back them too and we beat those demons down. Next time I see you I'm giving you a extra special hug.


  2. A truly lovely post, Andrea. Hugs to you on working through the depths to find your light... and for sharing that light with the world.

  3. Thank you for sharing this Andrea!

    Thank you especially for your comments regarding depression. The more people who admit it and stand up, the easier it will be for others to get help without feeling ashamed.

  4. Very great post - touching and inspirational.

  5. Thank you Andrea, this was beautiful and honest. Somehow knowing that someone else has suffered from depression makes accepting and healing easier....because it CAN be done.

    PS I am writing down the Churchill quote, its excellent.

  6. Such a beautiful post. And god I love both those quotes. It was an extended illness that provided me the time to start writing again too. What do you say about times like that, except, you can be glad they came, and more glad they went away. And when the days get to feeling sluggish putting one foot in front of the other in the present, well, you just keep on doing it. You just keep going. Best advice for writing, and for life.

  7. Dear Andrea, I'm Elena and I've wrote you a couple of weeks ago asking for an interview for the italian publishing of Nightshade. I've discovered through DeAgostini that your book will be published in italy on 09/22/2011 and we'd like to publish the interview (i've already sent you the questions at your mail adress) a couple of days before that date. Do you think you could send us the answers by that time? Wandering around your website I've noticed that some of the questions concide with the FAQs, if you don't have much time to answer to what we've sent you, would you mind if we translate some of the FAQs?
    Thanks again!
    P.S the post was very touching...

  8. Hi Elena,

    It would be fine to translate the FAQs from my web site, but I'll get answers back to your email asap as well! :)