Love Bites | Thomas Dunne Books | Vampire/Paranormal/Suspense/Urban Fantasy | August 31, 2010
Please tell us your latest news!
My second vampire novel, "Love Bites", was just released and it's getting great reviews!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Well, I really wanted to call it "Friends for Dinner" but my publisher thought that might be a bit too subtle. And although I think the cover is really striking, the blue eyed vampire doesn't bear much resemblance to my 450 year old Armenian scream queen. And there are a couple of typos I found too late to get corrected, but other than that, not a thing.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Oh boy, I can't narrow it down to one. I love John Sandford, Lee Child, Julie Smith, Randy Wayne White, Henning Mankell, Robert Crais, Steig Larrson. The list goes on and on. But what strikes me about each of these authors is that they continue to turn out book after book in each of their series and every new release is as well written as the last. That said, there are a couple of books on my shelf that I wanted to never end: Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon" and James Clavell's "Sho-gun"; and one I'll never forget: Joanne Greenberg's "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden".
Do you have a specific writing style?
I do, I think. It's pretty cut and dried. Objective. I tend to write like I talk and I'm most comfortable in first person - so far. Not very flowery. I hope a lot of my sense of humor comes through.
Do you see writing as a career?
Oh my God, you're asking me that at this time in my life? It's an additional career, that's for sure, and what excites me about it is that it's something I can continue to do as long as I have the need to create. But I'm not planning on giving up acting any time soon.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Writing was always and only a means to an end for me, from the time I was 12. I kept a journal and wrote in it every night. Used it to figure out my life, to understand who I was, to deal with teen-age angst and then twenty year old angst and thirty - you get the picture. I never every thought about writing anything someone else would read, except maybe some poems to the first love of my life (yes, back in the twenty year old angst period). Then, when I was in my fifties, I signed up for a writing class. You could say it was because I got a very strong message from a deceased friend that that's what I was supposed to do. And the writing class led to my selling a collection of stories about my life that became a best-seller ("There Are Worse Things I Could Do") and that led to "Vampyres of Hollywood" and now "Love Bites". I never would have imagined any of this if you'd asked me ten years ago.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Not unless they ask.
How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
My husband(Billy Van Zandt) is the writer in our family. His plays are done all over the world and he's been writing and producing television sit-coms since the mid-80s. So our boys have seen a lot of his shows, both on stage and TV. (Although the one he has opening in New York at the Triad Theatre in September, "You've Got Hate Mail", is not one for 13 year olds). But they'd rather be on Facebook with their friends than reading Mom's books; and besides, I'd like to keep them away from the sex scenes as long as possible.
My husband, on the other hand, loves having me write - even though it means he's cooking dinner more often.
What did you do before you became a writer? Do you write full time?
I'm an actress, first and foremost. I work the writing around my acting career. When I started my first book, I was doing a series on HBO, "Carnivale". There were so many of us in the cast, that I usually only worked 3 days a week, so that gave me plenty of time to get the writing done. And there's always a lot of down time on a film set; I wrote in my dressing room in between scenes. The same with "Vampyres of Hollywood" and "Love Bites" - I did half a dozen films and a several television appearances and wrote in between. Right now I'm doing "General Hospital" and again, my character only films 2 or 3 days a week, so once I settle into the routine, I'll be able to find time to begin writing again.
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
I had an idea for the opening of "Love Bites" and I knew what I wanted a good deal of it to be about, but I sat down with a friend of mine, Julie Smith, who's written one of my favorite detective series, and she helped me outline the first half or more. Then I found, as I was working with the outline, logic began to dictate where it would go and that took me in other directions and words ended up on the page that I hadn't initially planned on. So I guess you could say it was a combination of both. This was the first novel I'd written by myself and Julie taught me how to plot. Without her help, it might have been a novella!
Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing? If so what is it and please describe it. (Pen, Coffee Cup, Pet, Blanket, Chair)
Just a Mac, in any form. And a massuese. If I'm in my office, I use my iMac and I sit on a Swopper. That's one of those backless stools on a tension spring that bounces around as you move. It's supposed to be good for your posture and your back. If I'm anywhere else, I'm on my MacBook Air and I'm sitting on anything I can find. And that's when I really need a massage.
Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example..get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place
When I'm on a deadline, I write anywhere and everywhere. Airplanes, the beauty salon, hotel rooms, in my car with my husband driving, by the pool on vacation, in my trailer on a movie set, parked by the soccer field while my kids are at practice. I guess the only ritual is turning on the computer and plugging in a thumb drive so I can be sure I'm backing everything up.
What main genre do you write in?
Paranormal / Urban Fantasy, Suspense / Mystery