What inspired you to write?
Writing has always come easily to me ever since I began studying journalism in college. I was a newspaper reporter, journalism professor, and editor of national newsletters before I turned to fiction. I learned to write quickly and succinctly in journalism school and that has served me well in writing fiction.
Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
I had been wanting to write novels for a long time but never had the time while I was working. After writing or editing at my job all day, I just didn't feel like doing more of it in my few hours of free time. But I retired early last year and began writing fiction. I've written a mystery novel and four novellas in a six-month period.
How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
I don't use outlines. I have a general feeling of the core of the story, how I want it to end, and then start writing. I like to let the characters determine their course, and sometimes the plot changes slightly from what I had originally intended.
Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
I work on the books alone, but I have a group of seven or eight friends and family members who read the first draft of my work and make suggestions. Of course, I hope they'll just say, "That's great. I love it," but typically they'll have a few suggestions.
What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Finishing it. The beginning comes very easily to me, and I know what I want the end to be. But having been a journalist, I'm used to writing fast and finishing a project in one sitting. I find myself just wanting it to be done as I get past the halfway point. I do enjoy the editing process and often add quite a bit during that phase.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
The last page! Undoubtedly.
Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
No, not really. I've been writing so long about so many different things, that all I get from being finished is a real sense of satisfaction. Then I pop a bottle of wine.
What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
Having appointments or something scheduled that I know I have to deal with. It breaks my concentration.
What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
From being a news writer all these years, I basically have developed very thick skin and realize you can't please everyone. Some people just aren't going to like what you've written. And, of course, that's their prerogative. If the positive reviews outweigh the negative ones, I'm fine. Every now and then you read one by someone who really gets what you're going for, and that makes any negative critiques worthwhile.
Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
I grew up in Miami and my worst childhood memory is about spiders. It is far too horrible to write about, and I certainly don't want to relive it.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Yes. "If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain."
What is your favorite show on TV?
So many. Right now, probably Designated Survivor and Veep. I also loved Downton Abbey, Homeland,and House of Cards.
This year, I loved Lion. A Few Good Men was definitely a favorite.
I really enjoyed The Goldfinch. Also, all Gillian Flynn, Michael Connelly, John Grisham, and Agatha Christie books.
Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
Queen Elizabeth 1
Is there a talent you wish you had?
What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I used to be a tennis pro. I played No. 1 for Florida State and travelled in Europe playing after college.
Describe yourself in 3 words!
Determined. Quirky. Liberal.
What inspired you to write?