This is the game: I’ll interview myself. It’s a quick and fun way for you to learn about my writing style, my novels, and my characters. I’ll list all the questions, and answer a few each day. You interject comments where you like. This way I learn about you, my fans. Sound like a deal? Here’s hoping …
Q. How long have you been writing?
A. As a fundraiser and non-profit manager, I wrote non-fiction daily, but I turned to fiction twelve years ago. I had threatened my staff for a long time, with a desire to write a romance novel. As I walked out the door and into a new career, my co-workers handed me a gift — a romance writers phrase book. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at one of these books, but they’re as trite as they come. Within days, however, something happened in the world that was so terrible it caused me to change to a different genre immediately. The attack on the World Trade Center occurred, and our lives were altered forever. On that day, I turned away from romance and moved into suspense, layered with terrorism. Twelve years later, I’ve blended the two. Return of the French Blue is romantic suspense.
Q. Can you describe your typical day?
A. No, I can’t. I wish I could, but while i’m marketing Return of the French Blue the marketing consumes me. I hope to be well on my way to revising my second novel soon — and then I’ll have a schedule — I hope!
Q. Why did you turn from non-fiction to fiction, and why novels?
A. I’ve always had a vivid imagination. In a way, it grew out of self defence and relief from boredom. As a child my father would take us on long vactions [in the car] from California to the western National Parks. After about 200 miles, the ride became boring, so I needed to transport myself beyond the ’57 Chevy station wagon. I imagined whole stories … where I was often the star. Yep. It was me and Roy Rogers all the way across Navada. I still use my imagination to escape a boring situation. I devlop new sub-plots in a novel I’m working on, or draft a short story about my surroundings. I even practice character description on the people around me. [If they only knew!] The gift of imagination came to me via my mother — and what a gift she bestowed on me.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish?
A. The greatest thing I can accomplish is to provide readers with a good story–one that transports them from their daily routines and takes them to a whole new world–a world I’ve created especially for them. Good stories help us escape our immediate problems, and provide ‘time out’ from all that troubles us and exhausts us on any given day. I want to create chacacters that readers can identify with [or dream of becoming], scenes that are beautiful, and suspense that compels the reader to keep the book open well past bed-time. I want to bring the enjoyment of a ‘good read’ to those who buy my books, and I hope to never dissapoint.
Q. Do you have a recurring detail that appears in your books?
A. Yes, jewels. ‘Return of the French Blue’ is about the smaller diamonds that were cut from the French Blue [known as the Hope Diamond today], and made into a necklace. The blue diamond necklace becomes ‘bait’ for a sting operation on the French Riviera. In ‘She Rides with Genghis Khan’ a wish-fulfilling ‘jewel’ [really the essence of the historical Buddha], is the focus of the novel. In Buddhism, relics of the Buddha are called ‘jewels’. It was pure luck and good research that helped me discover this fact. The third novel, in my series, is entitled ‘When the Eunuchs Ruled’. It’s too soon to tell if a jewel will appear in this novel … but I have a good feeling that it will.
Q. How do you create characters that your readers care about?
A. This takes a lot of hard work. It didn’t come naturally to me. I keep these things in mind as i write and develop my characters: 1. Whose story is it? 2. What’s at stake? 3. Why here & why now? 4. Why should the reader care? 5. Who does the reader love [and why], and who does the reader love to hate? These questions are posted right next to my computer … and that’s where they have been for 8 years, and where they will stay until the paper turns to dust!
Q. How do you approach a new novel?
Q. How much research do you do for a novel? When do you have enough to begin? Do you
research as you go?
Q. Have you done any on-site research, had any special adventures?
Q. How do you keep the element of suspense ever-present in your novels? How do you structure
it and manage it?
Q. How do you keep romance prominent? Will all of your novels fit in the sub-genre of
Q. How do you choose the names of your characters?
Q. What character from your writing stays with you the most?
Q. Have you ever put yourself into a story?
Q. How do you go about the writing process? Do you outline your plot? Do you sketch
your characters in advance?
Q. Where do you write? Office? Tree house? Back patio? In front of the TV? On an
Q. Do you ever procrastinate?
Q. How long does it take to write a novel?
Q. Do you agree with the expression, “once i get started, the book just writes itself”.
Q. Does writing a series get easier with each novel?
Q. Do you hate to let your characters go? Do you ever see them in the grocery store, around
town, in a restaurant?
Q. Why did you choose to write Suspense and Romantic Suspense?
Q. Why do you place your novels in exotic places? Does location inspire you? Do you ever
write on location?
Q. How do you come up with new plots, for each novel? Where do they come from?
Q. What inspired you — throughout your life?
Q. Do you have any favorite authors?
Q. What artists, musicians, writers influenced you in your research and writing?
Q. Your books read live movies. Do you hope to see your characters on the ‘silver screen’
Q. How can I get you to come to my city and speak?
Q. What do you like most about writing?