You and your husband were rebuilding your house at the same time that you were working on Dream House. Can you speak to the relationship between working on a house and writing a novel?
There is something very reassuring about houses. Really the two things that define a house, any house, are that it is meant to endure and meant to protect an intimate group of people. That's stating the obvious, I guess, but what I mean is that basing a novel around a house was a way of anchoring a project that terrified me to a stable and necessary object.
At the same time, lots of people live with the fear that their home won't endure—that it'll be taken away by the bank or blown to bits in a hurricane. The past few years have given us ample news reports to support those fears. And although homes may generally protect us from the elements, lots of people also receive their most painful wounds inside their homes. So I was interested in the ways that homes can be both nurturing and damaging.
Dramatically speaking, placing a home at the center of your book—as so many other, better authors have done—is also very useful, because a home can bind your characters together and force them to work through their conflicts. After all, narratives don't just require conflict or tension—which we can have with any stranger on the highway, fleetingly. What a story requires is characters who are in conflict but can't walk away from each other.