Jonathan Santlofer

Jonathan Santlofer is the author of 5 novels, including the international bestseller The Death Artistand Anatomy of Fear, which won the Nero Award for best crime novel of 2009. He is editor, contributor and illustrator of the short story anthology, The Dark End of the Street, editor/contributor of LA NOIRE: The Collected Stories, The New York Times bestselling serial novel Inherit the Dead, Akashic Books’ The Marijuana Chronicles, and The New York Times “notable book” It Occurs to Me That I Am America. His stories have appeared in numerous short story collections. Santlofer, also a well-known artist, is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants, has been a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome, the Vermont Studio Center and serves on the board of Yaddo, one of the oldest arts communities in the U.S.

His bestselling memoir, The Widower’s Notebook, has received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, has appeared on more than a dozen “best books” lists of 2018, and is an Amazon bestseller. He was recently a guest on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

3 words to describe Nature?

Beautiful. Calming. Fierce.

3 things Nature taught you?

To be respectful

To slow down

When I bought an old house in upstate NY there was no lawn, no grass, which I planted and was awed when it grew!

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Dutchess County, NY (where I had my house)

Canyon De Shelly

The Arizona desert

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Mostly calm

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

From a distance it makes me feel small. Inside, I can feel either protected or lost and it often reminds me of fairy tales, like Hansel and Gretel.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

I have never seen a volcano in nature. In pictures or films they amaze me with their power, and make me think of Pompeii, which I’ve been too.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Depends where I am, and what it’s like, but often good – if I’m paying attention (and I guess I should be).

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

I love thunder if I’m inside.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Again, if I'm inside, or on a porch, it’s like eerie though beautiful music.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

My upstate home was surrounded by forest, which I liked. I love driving through the desert. Being near the ocean is always special. Mountains are beautiful in the distance, but I’d never climb one.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

Not sure I would put a number on nature but it’s essential to my well-being. I live in a city so it’s important for me to escape on a regular basis. I am always calmer in nature, which makes me wonder why I live in a city!

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Getting lost at the beach when I was around 6 or 7. Always a kid who daydreamed, I wandered along the shoreline far away from my parents. I remember sitting in the sand and drawing pictures in it with a stick and watching the waves wash them away. I was very happy doing this, having the water lapping over my feet, and not at all afraid even though I knew I was lost. Eventually the lifeguards found me and took me back to their station, where they gave me ice cream.