DEADLY INTENT (Mindhunters book 4) | romantic suspense | 11/2/10 | Berkley Sensation
Please tell us your latest news!
Most exciting right now is that the first Mindhunters book, Waking Nightmare was released in German this week! Right now it's at #8 on the German Amazon's bestseller's list for thrillers. I'm jazzed!
Waking the Dead, Mindhunters book 3 was a 2010 RITA finalist for romantic suspense.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Oh, that's a dangerous subject! As soon as I send a book in to my editor I start fretting. I make lists of everything I need to change at line edits stage. I make a list of problems with the book. In short, I obsess
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Hmmm, picking just one isn't easy. I think I'll cheat and add a few of them :) I love Tami Hoag. She has a dark and gritty style that really sucks me in, but her characters aren't so damaged that I lose hope for their future happiness. Nora Roberts' JD Robb books are favorites. I enjoy the police procedural aspect, the deeply flawed characters and the evolving character arcs. Other favorites are Lee Child and Robert Crais. Each of them write a character who's sort of a lone wolf who consistently gets drawn in to righting injustices.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I'm told I do, although it's difficult sometimes for an author to see and analyze that in her own work. According to my editors over the years, my voice is mainstream, with a dark and gritty style and a depth in the area of characterization.
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. If an author is serious about developing and reaching the next level, writing must be treated as a career. I think in the very beginning I couldn't see that far ahead. My goal was to get published, and then to sell the next few subsequent books. Once I hit number five or so I started learning more about the industry. Craft remained important, but equally important was educating myself about what I needed to do to remain published long-term.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always been a voracious reader. I think when we read a lot we absorb so much about sentence structure, vocabulary, ending hooks, point of view...many of the craft elements didn't have to be learned because I learned them just by reading. My major frustration was running out of books to read before the month's end. I used to re-read books in my library every month waiting for the new releases. In 1990 I decided I'd use that time over the summer to write my own. Two years later my first two manuscripts were bought by Silhouette.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Finish the manuscript! You can't sell a book that isn't done. I'm a little shocked sometimes by how many unfinished manuscripts aspiring writers tell me they have. That's all right when you're learning craft, but at some point you have to slog all the way through the work until it's finished. Only then can you learn how to maneuver between plot points, work through the sagging middle, write the black moment, etc. I also suggest submitting to contests because I think valuable insight in gained from the judges.
How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
They're proud, but with five kids I don't get a free pass :) About anything. There's merciless teasing about the love scenes in the books, the research, plot points...everything is fair game to them! That said, some of my older kids read the books. My husband reads all of them.
What did you do before you became a writer? Do you write full time?
I also teach elementary special education students. I've always juggled the two careers, in addition to raising five kids. During the school year most of my writing is done on the weekends, summer and evenings. During the summer I have a lot more time to write.
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
Ah, I much prefer the term 'organic writer' to pantser :) I am not a plotter. In my early days as a writer I spent a lot of time despairing over that. I'd come out of workshops determined to use the outlining method I'd learned, feeling like a failure when it didn't work for me. I was convinced there was something inherently inferior about my methods, and that if my editor found out I was a 'pantser' I'd never sell again. I've learned to embrace it. I can't change my process and I no longer want to. At the beginning of a story I know the overall suspense plot, the character arcs of my hero/heroine, the villain's identity (sometimes I'm wrong) and a few plot points. The rest fills in as I write. I like being surprised as I write the story. I think I'd get bored if I were able to outline first. I'd feel like I'd already written the story.
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)
My dog usually curls up next to me when I start writing. That's when I know it's time to get down to work!
Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example..get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place
First I exercise since I'm going to spend the rest of the day with my butt glued to a chair. I've solved my carpal tunnel problems by no longer writing at a desk. Instead I sit on a comfy chaise lounge with a laptop on my lap and a blanket around me. Diet Coke is by my side. First I make my rounds on the Internet, checking email, the blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Then it's time to write.
What main genre do you write in?