Questions From Seattle Mystery Bookshop:
--> How many rejection slips did you get before your first novel was published?
43, but who’s counting?
--> Have you ever thrown away a book that you just couldn't make work?
I throw away nothing. There are a few in files on my computer and hidden in the bottom of my desk drawer and will likely stay there forever, but you’d be surprised how much of a “failed” book you can resurrect in other books.
--> Is it still exciting to publish a new book even after all this time?
I just blogged that it is like a new child. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t close to the real experience of seeing your son or daughter born but it is an intense amount of labor while you wait for your creation and then when it arrives you’re tired and giddy and hopeful that creation will take wings and fly.
--> Do you get ideas for new books all the time and you keep them written down, or does one come to mind when you need one?
I usually have prolonged droughts, then get two at a time. Write one down and pitch the other.
--> Do you have entire story arcs mapped out when you begin a trilogy or a series of related books?
What are ya’ kidding? I like outlining as much as going to the dentist to get a cavity filled. I do it though because it helps me organize my thoughts. However, I keep it loose and let the characters and the flow of the story decide the final plotting. When the characters come alive and make suggestions on the plot that is when I know I’m in the zone.
--> Do you know how a book/series is going to end when you begin it?
Sometimes I do but sometimes I’m uncertain. I wrote Bodily Harm three times without an ending because nothing was blowing me away. The fourth time through I knew the characters and their dynamics enough to feel comfortable writing an ending.
--> Do you have to enter a different mind-set to write different stories for different characters?
I do. The series is one voice, but I’ve written other types of novels and the voice is different.
--> Is there any kind of book you would like to write but haven't?
I’ve written a literary novel. I love Pat Conroy and John Irving. We’ll see what happens. Making the transition can be hard for a writer but also for the people who’ve nurtured your career.
--> If you could change anything about your writing career, what would it be?
I have one regret, but I won’t share it. I’ll just say that it is such a blessing to be able to do what is my passion for a living.
--> What’s the most interesting question you’ve ever been asked about your writing, and what was your answer?
“How did you write so well from a female perspective?” Answer: Four sisters beat respect for women into me at a very young age.
--> If you could have written any single work – novel, screenplay, stage play, poem, history, biography – that you most admire and adore, what would it be?
So many to choose from. I’d say the book that really made me love to read was The Count of Monte Cristo
--> Anything you’ve always wanted to be asked about your books but no one ever has?
Where can I buy 50,000 copies for me and my friends. Answer: Seattle Mystery Bookshop!