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Tom begins the interview talking about Americana and how one’s setting forms an integral part of the rules that shape life. For the majority of the interview, Tom discusses the characters and that he wanted to ensure that the characters and not the plot pushed the around the story. Tom also talks about his personal experience teaching in a small Nebraska town and the stories that this experience made him want to write about. In particular, he discusses wanting to write about how small-town life tends to magnify the consequences of breaking the strict norms that govern it. Near the end of the interview, Connie and Tom discuss his character development process and how became a writer.