When we caught up with McMillan, author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting to Exhale, on Dec. 10, she was in the process of deciding if she wanted to visit family for Christmas or just stay home, in her new loft in Pasadena, Calif. McMillan, 61, was fresh off a book tour for Who Asked You? It's a novel about B.J. Butler, the matriarch of an African-American family who finds herself suddenly in charge of her two grandsons. "This year has been so busy that I haven't completely moved into my new home yet,'' McMillan said. "I have about 19 boxes of books to unpack. I love Christmas, and especially when there's little children, of course, but right now I just want to wake up on Christmas and be able to relax and read . . . I do plan on watching the Rose Bowl Parade (on Jan. 1) from here. We've got what is called a community terrace, and it's supposed to be fun.''
What's on your nightstand?
Right now I'm reading The Round House by Louise Erdrich. I've read at least five of her books. I've loved them all, but before this Love Medicine really got me.
And what do you think of The Round House?
This book is very dense, like all of her work. I can't imagine how difficult it was to tell a story that is so layered. It's a story being told from a boy's point of view, as an adult, but as a child, and it's in present tense. It's amazing and I find it just brilliant. She also is incredible with research and historical matters. It's also fascinating on other levels. It's got that Gabriel Garcia Marquez magic realism thing going on. I don't know anyone who tells a story like she tells a story.
Times staff writer Piper Castillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.