Q: When did you decide to get serious about writing?
I’ve always been serious in the sense that I’ve always been dedicated to writing the best book I can — even when I was eleven and climbed a tree with pad and pen! I entered college as a music major but graduated with a degree in journalism. After college, I freelanced and kept writing fiction. I finished a manuscript and finally got up the courage to submit a query letter to a New York literary agent. That was a big step! She took me on, and now here I am.
Q: You have over fifty novels published! Where does the inspiration for your stories keep coming from?
I’ve asked myself this, too, and I think coming up with new stories is a natural, intuitive process for me. I don’t have to hunt up ideas so that I can write. I write because I have ideas! For example, I was on vacation in Ireland a few years ago. No writing! But we visited a stone ruin and an ancient stone circle…and next thing I knew, I had a stories and characters percolating that eventually became THE ANGEL, THE MIST and THE WHISPER.
Q: Can you describe your latest novel, Cold Dawn, in twenty words or less?
Okay, let me give this a shot: A search-and-rescue expert and a smokejumper go after a deadly serial arsonist who strikes the small Vermont town of Black Falls. How’s that?
Q: Do you have a certain writing schedule you stick to?
Yes and no. I write most days and work hard, but I’m not regimented. I don’t write X number of pages a day or work X number of hours. What I get done and how long it takes depends on where I am in the book. At the beginning of a book, I tend to work more in fits and starts. I need little breaks for the story to meander and then settle. Toward the end of a book, I’ll write for longer periods at a stretch.
Q: What are you currently reading?
I just re-read the last 100 pages of MJ Rose’s THE HYPNOTIST. Fascinating book!
Q: What are your thoughts on the rise of technology for the writing industry- e-readers and self-publishing?
It’ll be what it’ll be. I love to write and I love to read, and that’s not going to change.
Q: When writing, do you often start from Chapter 1, or do you work backwards, or start somewhere in the middle?
Chapter 1, but I’ll jot down scenes or snippets of scenes that occur to me as I write. Sometimes I’ll start in on Chapter 1 with no synopsis, just to get a feel for the story; other times I’ll have a brief synopsis before I start.
Q: Are you currently working on a project?
Yes, I am. I’m deep into my latest work-in-progress. It’s a brand-new world, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it!
Q: You have been to some amazing locations around the world. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
My husband and I adore the southwest Irish coast. We stay in the pretty village of Kenmare and wander the hills of the Iveragh and Beara peninsulas. Stunning scenery, great food, wonderful people. Just love it there!
Q: What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Write what you’re driven and love to write, but don’t postpone happiness until you achieve a certain goal. Be happy now! It’s too easy to say to yourself, “I’ll be happy when I finish a book.” Then it’ll be, “I’ll be happy when I’ve sold a book.” Then…”I’ll be happy when I make the bestseller lists.” Then…see how it works? It’s corrosive. Focus on writing the best book you can and living your life. Easier said than done some days, but,, FWIW, that’s my advice.