Everybody Rise is Clifford's first book.
Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I just finished Cristina Henríquez' The Book of Unknown Americans. Henríquez's details give such a vivid sense of her characters' lives - the rundown Delaware apartment building that the characters live in, one of the father's jobs at a mushroom-packaging factory where he has to work in the dark. It's about moving to America, and it's also about family and sacrifice and what you do for your kids.Visit Stephanie Clifford's website.
Next up is V.V. Ganeshananthan's Love Marriage, which I somehow missed when it came out. Good things come to those who wait, though - I've heard wonderful things about the book. Sugi and I were on the college paper together, and she is such a smart storyteller - I can't wait to see what she does in fiction form.
I've been a reporter at the New York Times for about eight years, and a little over a year ago, I began covering Brooklyn courts, which is everything from Mafia cases to gang trials to people being cleared of decades-old convictions after spending most of their lives in prison. I've gotten very interested in criminal justice issues, writ large, as a result of seeing what goes on here every day. I'm in the middle of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, which makes a compelling argument about the effects of mass incarceration.
One of the things I started doing as I began writing Everybody Rise was memorizing poetry to help with phrasing and rhythm. I began with the likes of Eliot (I had Prufrock in its entirety memorized at one point), Keats, Christina Rossetti - and I'm now moving into the contemporary realm, reading poets like Carol Ann Duffy.