I was a voracious reader, but I always thought a writer was 'someone else'. So when I went to college and then graduate school I envisioned a long and happy business career. Then one of my clients requested my marketing team meet at his home. That's where I met his wife - Danielle Steel. I didn't know who she was and when I found out she was an author I flippantly said "I could do that!" That was it. A colleague dared me to write a book and I took that dare. I was in my thirties. Talk about the floodgates opening! I sold my first book and writing became my passion. I wrote for major New York publishers for 25 years. Three years ago I went indie. I can barely remember a time when I didn't write and will be forever grateful for the dare.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The decision to become an indie author was the result of a perfect publishing storm. Bookstores were disappearing in my area, digital devices were being embraced by the readers, and I had written a book, BEFORE HER EYES, that my publisher thought pushed too much of a creative boundary and decided not to publish it. Just as I was wondering what to do, I read an article about Smashwords and the rest is history. I published BEFORE HER EYES and it was voted B&P's Readers Choice Best Mystery. Over 8,000 readers voted. I never looked back.
What do your fans mean to you?
I am still pen pals with the first person who ever wrote me a fan letter - that was 28 years ago. Now, of course, I can talk to fans instantly with email, Twitter and one even made a Facebook fan page for me. That truly made me feel amazing. I answer every message as soon as I get it. I love hearing that people relate to my characters or to a situation I've written about. I am so grateful for the cheerleading. I've even named characters after people who write to me - with their permission of course. I doubt readers know what an impact their notes and good wishes have on me.
What are you working on next?
I am working on the sixth book in the Witness Series, FORGOTTEN WITNESS. This series features Josie Bates, a beach-rat attorney, her sixteen-year-old ward, Hannah, and her lover Archer. Instead of always focusing on a courtroom drama, I write so that each book moves a character's story forward. There is always lots of action, there is always something huge at stake and there is always a focus on the character's journey. It's exciting to write something that ties up one loose end only to unravel something else.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Stephen King because he is fabulous with characterization. I'm a fan of many Grisham books. Love Scott Turow. Rilla Askew (A Fire in Bueulah) was introduced to me by a friend. Some of my favorite Indie authors are David Wiseheart (Devil's Lair), Jody Lebel (Playing Dead), Pete Morin (Diary of a Small Fish), Tim Greaton (The Santa Shop).
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I am lucky to have a very close knit family. My husband is a superior court judge, my oldest son is a talent manager in Hollywood, my youngest just finished his Peace Corps service in Albania (guess what inspired EYEWITNESS?) and is also a writer. We all love our work, we love to travel, to have friends over, to see our extended family. I guess I get out of bed each morning to see what's going to happen to any one of us - and to see what's going to happen to the characters I'm writing about on any given day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to go to court and sit in on trials. I sew (just got a new sewing machine for my birthday), play tennis (I'm on a league team), go to the movies (a lot), take road trips with my mom and long trips with my husband. I speak at conferences. I used to teach at the UCLA Writers Program which was very exciting but the drive got to be a bit too long. I go to book clubs. I have been involved with The Young Writers Conference, an organization that brings authors into middle school classrooms to share our love of writing.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I browse. When a description catches my eye I stop and I look at reviews. I download the sample and read that. Sampling has always appealed to me as an author and a reader.
What is your writing process?
My corporate experience has definitely had an impact on my writing process. I am at my local coffee shop by seven on most mornings and work until two or three in the afternoon. Sometimes i compose, sometimes I edit, sometimes I work out timelines, but I work at writing seven days a week. I always begin with a concept - usually it's a legal concept - and then I imagine what person would be involved in the problem the concept dictates. Once I have the main character worked out, I come up with a title and it's off to the races. I usually write the first draft and then edit the entire manuscript five or six times. The process is really all about trying to create a seamless tale in which the reader can get lost.
Do you have any big wishes?
I wish a UFO would land in my backyard and I wish I could live overseas for one year.
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