Please tell us your latest news?
I'll be working on an original screenplay in the fall for a film producer who developed The Lord of the Rings and The Golden Compass.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The only thing that I might possibly have changed would be the bad language - it caused a bit of a backlash in the states! I stongly believe the cursewords were appropriate for my main character but if I had my time again I might have put the worst ones in Italian - that way I would have maintained the character's integrity but would have been less shocking to the more conservative reader!
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favourite living author is Thomas Harris. I'm always struck by the visceral quality of his work, but his prose is always really beautiful, even the bloodletting.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Not really. In the three books I've written I've done split timeline, dual storyline and first person. The only stylistic trick I've noticed that I come back to is that I tend to describe things in threes, like General de Gaulle!
Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. I've been very lucky - since I wrote my first book The Glassblower of Murano I've been able to make a good living from it; in fact I wrote that book on maternity leave and never returned to my job. I realize though that I'm in a privileged positiion - it's harder these days for authors to get big advances and the economic situation has made an inevitable impact on sales.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was about five years old and I bullied my teacher to let me write the Nativity play for the rest of the kids! I think my interest originated from being read to every day from a very early age and encouraged to love books - that's something I'm passing on to my children.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don't quit. It took me years to get published in the UK, so don't let rejection get to you. Just keep telling yourself that JK Rowling, Stephen King and The Beatles were all rejected at first! Stylistically I'd say don't describe everything in minute detail - give your reader credit.
How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
The adult members of my family are very proud and supportive and read everything I write. My kids are too young to care at the moment, even though they have novels dedicated to them! They just assume that everyone's mum is a writer. I hope they'll get it one day!
What did you do before you became a writer? Do you write full time?
I designed tour visuals for rock bands like U2, The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith, (Basically when you go to see a band, all the filmed pieces that are playing behind them on screens) I now write full time in between the school runs!
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
I always outline and do a chapter breakdown. I can't write organically, although I understand some writers do, with great success.
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 glass heart (from my first novel) is my totem - I wear it round my neck a lot for luck. Also I get a new notebook for each novel which goes with me everywhere for scribbling down ideas. My husband always buys these for me and they've become more fancy over the years - my latest is gorgeous Florentine handmade paper!
Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example..get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place
I always wear my old dressing gown and have a cup of tea by my side. I write on the sofa with my laptop on my knee.
All the writers out there keep writing and all the readers out there keep reading!