It's a very morally engaged book, if that's not too cliched a way to put it. Do you think a writer is obliged to take a moral position? Is that moral aspect important to you as a writer?
It is to me, currently. I don't know if it's important for all writers to do it. It's been an interesting process for me, becoming a writer, in the eight-to-ten years since my first book was published: first you want to become a writer because you think you can, and because it would be neat or something, but slowly over time a lot of the things that you thought would be rewarding about being a writer evaporate. Book tours aren't much fun or glamorous. The attention is self-defeating in a way. There are two valuable things that are left then, at least to me as a writer: first, you get to spend most of your working time in a room by yourself living in an imaginary world - something that appeals to me greatly, and a second thing is that you get to be involved in that larger world conversation about what we can do while we're on this earth. You don't get that in many professions. If you're an orthodontist you perform a great an noble service, but you don't get to participate in the same way in that conversation. What keeps me in that little room by myself is that conversation - so it's important to me.
I italicized that section at the end above.
It's so important to me, too. I miss, miss so much regular participation in that conversation. Sipping from the pools of others through their blogs, and contributing to my own.