Q: How old
enough to know better, but still young enough to try it anyway. In other
words, age is just a number, not a definition of a person. When I turned
39, I decided I didn't need any more birthdays. So, no matter how old the
people around me choose to get, I intend to stay 39.
Q: How tall are you?
Q: How would you
A: This question
has been asked in many forms and I have struggled with a right way to
answer it and cover the number of idiosyncrasies of me. To date, this is
the best I can offer:
If I were a car
in an auction, this would be my listing: Classic Mustang GT500 fastback
with original 428 Police Interceptor, original paint, low mileage, driven
at high speed, well maintained, conditioned to
reactive suspension, accustomed to
wheel drift, has a tendency toward
braking, occasionally over or under steers, has been known to leave
the garage without permission and run off the road without warning, found
in places it doesn't belong, will kick you back if you kick the tires, is
a cross between
Eleanor (video or
wiki link) and
Christine (video with violence or
(wiki link). Experienced drivers ONLY! In short, I can be difficult when
taken for granted, yet I will always come through in the clinches
(Eleanor). However, make me angry (which takes a lot) and I can become
your worst nightmare (Christine).
Q: When do you most often write?
I am struck by something. There is rarely a specific time. Every piece of
writing has its own set of drivers and I can't predict it. When I was
writing Blood and Magnolias, I was writing close to 24 hours a day for
weeks on end. I'd just fall asleep for awhile then go back to it. I spent
many days in my pajamas and had to be reminded that there was a world
around me that needed me in it once and awhile. Those close to me said I
was 'possessed' by it. The Colony series, which
is now 4 books strong, had me up at 2:00 a.m. and drove me until
sunrise, then it would fall away with the light and come back the next
Q: When do you think you do your best writing?
A: As I
said in the previous answer, I never know when inspiration will
strike. There have been times when I am absolutely driven by the story for
days at a time non-stop. I may have three solid months of doing nothing
but writing from pre dawn to post sunset, sometimes twenty-four hours a
day. Then I may have three months of little to no writing. The well runs
dry and I have to wait for it to fill up. As for when I think I do my best
writing, I think the greatest art comes from extremesÖwhen we are elated,
high on life, and when we are despairing, down on life. When
the joy or the pain is forced to the surface and onto the page or the
canvas it is powerful stuff. This is an interesting read. I'm not
sure if I believe it in total, but it does have some ring of truth--not
that I think I am a genius, but creativity does drive me very hard. When I
have creative, outlet things run much more smoothly than when I am stifled.
"It is often suggested that genius (or, at least, creative talent) and
mental disorder (specifically, the mania and hypomania of bipolar
disorder) (is) are linked." Cited source: Jamison, Kay Redfield
Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic
Temperament, New York, The Free Press. ISBN 0-02-916030-8 Also read,
Fugue State; Agatha
Christie may have experience a bout of fugue.
Q: What is your inspiration?
A: I wish
I knew; I would bottle it and sell it. I can be inspired by people,
places, sounds, events, something I see, hear, smell, taste, or feel.
However, music is my muse when I am writing. When I find a piece that
evokes the right emotion, I may play it over and over until I have the
scene finalized. (See the My Music
page for more.)
Q: Is there any truth in the stories.
Legally, I must invoke the
'all persons fictitious disclaimer'. However, speaking from a
normal person perspective, elements of my characters do garner some of
their qualities from humans, otherwise they would not be in the least
believable. Yet, the stories themselves are simply the wild meanderings of
my uncontrollable creativity.
Q: How long have you been writing?
Since...forever it seems. I think my writing grew into my calling when I
was in my teens. I had always been a big reader, but couldn't always get
my hands on the books I wanted to read--no money, no permission, no access. I have
never been good at accepting limitations, so I started writing my own
What kind of stories did you write as a teenager?
question. Teens are in a very unsettled space and things they write are
often misinterpreted by adults. It is a period of discovery and hormonal
flux and I am sure my writing reflected that--and my early childhood
experiences played into it. I was a big mystery and suspense fan from an early age, so
much of my writing was in that vein. I read all of the
Nancy Drew and
Holmes and Miss
Marple were familiar characters. But I also wrote poetry and scary
stories and, of course, what teenage girl isn't interested in romance.
Q: I was told you used to be afraid of public
speaking. How did you get over that?
A: Iím still a natural introvert, but Iíve
learned to be an extrovert. When you set your sites on a thing you have to
be willing to kick fear to the curb in order to move toward your goal. I
realized that the fear I had of public speaking was unfounded and the more
I did it, the more the fear fell away. I still get butterflies sometimes,
Q: As a writer, how do you deal with rejections,
assuming you have experienced them.
yes, I have experienced them in my writing life and in my personal life,
just like everyone else. As for the writing rejections specifically, I read them, try to glean any pearls of wisdom
or inspiration from them, and then I put them in a special file called Oh
Well. Writing is very
subjective, just as any art form. One manís meat is another manís poison and sometimes it is
just about timing. The reviewer had a fight with their partner, burned the toast,
got stuck in traffic. We are all human and what happens in one venue of
our life can bleed into and onto that of another's. I once received a
rejection letter that was more of a verbal assault. It took the critic
seven pages to spew forth his outrage about what I had written. I decided
that he must have had a lot of time on his hands or he was in a 'bad
place' emotionally and needed to vent--so he vented on me. You just have to
get over it and move on.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
writing. If writing is what you want to do with your life, do it every
day. Even if no one but you and your three best friends ever read a word
of it, you are doing something that makes you happy. Blog it, chat it,
discuss it, question it, re-write it, start over. In other words, don't
let it get 'dusty.' It is important to stay positive and active when
you are attempting to reach any goal and writing is no exception. Keep
pushing and don't give up. Not to be ghoulish, but many authors go unknown
or unpublished in their lifetime. Yet, their work may later become famous.
50 Famous Books That Were Posthumously Published
Q: Do you need a particular personality trait to be
short, no. Anyone who has the passion and desire can write. As for
becoming famous or popular, that is a whole other thing. However, if you
have a writer's heart, it is more about the writing than the fame or
popularity. When I am writing, that is all there is. I am rarely thinking
about getting a story published when I am entwined with the words.
Q: Any tips on creating dialog?
A: Keep it
real. If your character is a brick layer with a high school education, who
failed English, and hasn't made any effort to take night classes, he is
unlikely to speak in grammatically correct sentences--or sentences at all.
On the other hand, if your character is an English professor who has
little tolerance for grammar slippage, his speech will be very proper--at
least in public. But don't fall into the trap of assumptions. Talk to
people, listen to their patterns. Write some dialogue then read it
out loud. Does it 'feel' right? Does it flow? Give your character an
unexpected element to their voice. The brick layer has taken night classes and he is now
a fan of Shakespeare--quotes it often. The uptight professor by day is a
rave junky by night and his communication is a bit 'sketchy' by the end of