"State of Wonder," a novel by Ann Patchett

Melissa Ann Pinney,Harper Collins
Ann Patchett, State of Wonder
Harper Collins, Melissa Ann Pinney

Jeff Glor talks to Ann Patchett about "State of Wonder."

Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?

Ann Patchett: I wanted to write about how it feels to meet the teacher who completely shaped your life twenty years later. The student remembers every second she spent in the presence of this teacher and the teacher (who no doubt had thousands of students over the course of her life) doesn't remember the student at all.

JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?

AP: How much fun it was. Generally speaking, I hate to write and love to have written, but I really had a good time with this one. Writing about the Amazon, and also having a character like Dr. Swenson who is so much larger than life, made it a pleasure to go to work every day.

JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?

AP: I'd like to build dioramas. I'd be very happy spending my life making tiny trees.

JG: What else are you reading right now?

AP: "The Fatal Shore," by Robert Hughes. I'm going to Australia for the first time this fall and I wanted to know more about the history. The book is fantastically well written but it's also unrelentingly brutal. I take breaks by dipping into Dickens, "Our Mutual Friend."

JG: What's next for you?

AP: I'm just starting book tour and it's really hard for me to see beyond that. I'm taking it one day at a time, one city at a time.

For more on "State of Wonder," visit the Harper Collins website.

  • Jeff Glor

    Jeff Glor was named anchor of the Sunday edition of the "CBS Evening News" in January 2012 and Special Correspondent for "CBS This Morning" in November 2011.