Thomas Christopher Greene is a busy man. Aside from launching his third novel, Envious Moon (due out from William Morrow on May 1st), he is also doing a bit of side work: founding and running a new fine arts college.
Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Tom grew up around campuses. His father was a professor (and eventually a college president), and his mother taught kindergarten. A self-proclaimed mediocre student, Tom didn't take to college at first. After dropping out, he was hired by a presidential campaign to write speeches, issue papers, and media releases. When he returned to Hobart College, he founded a magazine and thus began his writing career.
After graduation he moved to Vermont — where he resides to this day — and while working as the spokesperson for Norwich University (which is when I first met him) he went on to earn his MFA from Vermont College. Once his first novel Mirror Lake was published, he left to write full time. Three years later, he was lured back to Vermont College (now part of Union Institute & University) to run their MFA in Writing for Children Program. When the campus and academic programs came up for sale, Tom led the effort to buy them, becoming, in his own words, "a reluctant college president." He is also at work on his fourth novel.
Though it's hard to imagine that Tom has much time to breathe, let alone do interviews, I recently had the pleasure of talking to him about his life and work:
Envious Moon is the first of your novels not based in your current home state of Vermont. Why Rhode Island this time? How does setting influence the narrative?
My first two books were about my beloved adopted home state of Vermont. While I could never grow tired of writing about these hills and valleys and small mountain towns, I wanted to write about the ocean. I’ve always been drawn to it, and especially to the people who make their living from it. When I was a college student, I had this job shucking clams and oysters for tourists on Block Island. I would stand behind this bar on this long lawn stretching to the ocean and open pesky shellfish after pesky shellfish for wealthy people from New York and Boston.