Q. What do you consider a perfect day?
A. Wow. Not to be new age, but I consider everyday perfect in its own way. I guess being a hospice nurse gives you that kind of perspective. A really fun day might be hiking with my dog on the steepest, most isolated hills in our valley, or walking in the Scottish Highlands - which I did last year for ten days and found it magical, or galloping a horse across an open meadow in Montana, or rafting down the Salmon River in Idaho. As you can tell, I'm an outdoor type and a bit of a risk-taker. Whatever I do, if my husband and my kids can do it with me, that's perfection!
Q. Do you plot out a story or does it come to you?
A. Stories come in different ways. Sometimes I'm struck with a single idea and I write from there, other times I dream an entire story from start to finish and I just fill in the details. I've always had a vivid imagination. When I was a child, I'd put myself to sleep at night by making up stories in my head. I still do that. When I write I never plot a story out, but I do write a one or two sentence biography of my characters and a brief description of my settings. Once I get started, I grow so close to my characters that I never refer to their bios. They become real to me and their stories become immediate. It's one of the reasons I work on one book at a time. Once I immerse myself in a make-believe world and I can't inject myself into another.
Q. What is your typical writing day like?
A. Chaotic! I'm up early to feed all the pets, I quickly check emails and then head out with my dog for a five mile hike. We go rain, shine, hail, wind, flood, earthquake...I'm a freak about fresh air...can't think without it. I come home, make myself an espresso and re-read my previous chapter. Re-reading what I've just written helps me pick up my train of thought, or gets me into character, and then I write. Sometimes I'll write six to eight hours a day, sometimes two, it depends upon what else is going on that day. When you have a husband who works constantly, three very busy, interesting kids, multiple animals and a job in real life, well...as I said, chaotic! I can usually get in two to three good solid hours of writing at night.
Q. Do you have any guilty pleasures?
A. Oh yeah, lots, but most of them are too personal to discuss! I'm a real sucker for good milk chocolate. I don't like dark chocolate despite the fact that it's supposed to be more complex. I just like the smooth silky mouth feel of milk chocolate. I love ethnic food, Mexican, Thai, sushi - anything spicy. I can't write to music, but I love to put on my old rock and roll and Motown CDs and sing at the top of my lungs while I'm driving the car. I'm not a huge TV watcher but I do have my can't-miss-shows. Right now that would be True Blood, but Battlestar Galactica may be my all-time favorite series. Now that it's over, I really feel it! I like NCIS too, probably because the characters seem like a family and I speak Hebrew and Zeva is supposed to be Israeli.
Q. What do you hope to achieve with your writing?
A. Well, first and foremost, to be read. Second, to entertain. Third, to take a reader out of his or her daily life and slip them into a nice fantasy. I like romance because you can pretty much count on a happy ending and what's so bad about a happy ending? Life can be stressful and I've come to realize that at the end of the day I'm not really into reading a depressing book or watching a movie that's a real downer, no matter how great it is. Sometimes yeah, sure, but the more I experience, the more I appreciate that happy ending, in books and in real life.
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