The first word I remember learning as a child was "eavesdrop" and whether I'm writing a novel or non-fiction, it all comes from a blend of memory and imagination. People often ask what it was like to have my first novel, "Mermaids," made into a movie with Cher, Winona Ryder, Bob Hoskins and Christina Ricci. It was remarkable, and perhaps the experience was magnified because I spent so many years working on that book.

I worked at a magazine, a book publisher, the A&E Television Network and a movie company before I turned to teaching and haven't stopped since. I have never ceased to be excited by my students' work. At first I taught memoir classes for people over fifty, but I have recently opened up my classes to all ages. Teaching fuels my writing and my writing is what guides my teaching.

Dann's next book, about writing, will be published in 2016.