Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Even as a small child I was a storyteller. In grade school, classmates would follow me around the schoolyard as I role played a new story that had come to me. I recently moved back home to Santa Fe, New Mexico. There, I met a woman I knew when I was seven-years-old. She related the details of a story that I had told. I didn’t remember the story, but even after fifty years she still remembered it. That was incredible to me and made me smile.
I’ve written too many stories to count, but I’ve only recently published my first crime mystery. I was a single mom from the time my two children were five- and seven-years-old. To provide for them, I worked for the military for twenty-five years. Long hours and a great deal of traveling, while taking care of two children, didn’t leave time for writing. When my children were grown and I retired, I had time to listen to the stories in my head. I have six different story ideas on my computer.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Ideal Victim is my latest crime mystery. Ideas for this story and all my other stories just pop unbidden into my head. I swear I’m a writer – not a murderer, stalker, serial killer, or psychopath. But, ideas for characters that have these traits and the different ways a person could be killed come to me all the time. I also get ideas for main characters (female detectives) and their partners. They start telling me who they are and how they act. They start having conversations with each other in my head. I feel like I’m just the instrument for bringing them to life.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Before I started writing Predictable Violence, I read everything I could find on how best to write a mystery/thriller. What I found was that there are, generally, two types of writers. The first plans and outlines extensively. What works for them is to know it all, what happens in every chapter, in some detail, right from the start. The second type of writer just sits down and starts telling a story. They find that often the story knows better than they do what it wants to be. I’m one of these second type of writers.
For me, it’s like watching a movie in my head. My fingers are doing the typing, but I’m just enjoying watching as the characters and plot unfolds. When I start a book I know the beginning, but the rest is like going on an adventure. The end of a book is just as exciting for me as it is for the reader.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have always been a voracious reader of mysteries. When I was six, I read every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books that were published. Next, I read every Agatha Christie book. As I got older, I started reading Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, Patricia Cornwell, Lee Child, John Grisham, Connie Shelton, Daniel Silva, J. D. Robb, Lisa Gardner. You get the idea. I love mysteries.
What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m writing my third crime mystery. It’s set in Cody, Wyoming, and the main character is a half Native American/half German detective. She rides horses, fly fishes, and is a sniper on the the Tactical Response Team.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Do you have any advice for new authors?
1. Find reviewers. Reviews affect a book’s ranking on Amazon. Amazon uses their own algorithm to determine what book to put in front of its customers. Reviews are crucial in this algorithm.
2. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers. Keep writing.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I’ve ever heard is to ignore the advice regarding the mistakes every writer makes. Some of the most-read authors make these “mistakes”.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Into the Water by Paula Hawkins.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’ll continue writing crime mysteries. The characters inside me demand to be made real.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I would take books that can be read over and over and never get old or boring. My choices would be:
Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
Twilight, Stephanie Meyer
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Divergent, Veronica Roth
A Storm of Swords, George R.R. Martin