Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the southern part of New Jersey, just across the bridge from Philadelphia. We spent summers at the Jersey Shore so the beach pops up quite frequently in my books. Also, being so close to Philadelphia, I was able to attend dozens of professional theatrical productions in my teen years and that certainly influenced my style of storytelling.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Dracula. It started my obsession with all things vampire.
When did you first start writing?
I've been writing since I was old enough to hold one of those fat pencils they give you in kindergarten. I started writing coherent stories in the sixth grade - mostly Dark Shadows fan fiction which soon gave way to Hardy Boys Fan Fiction and Simon and Simon Fan Fiction, etc., etc.
After years of thinking no one would ever pay me to write, I took a chance and starting pitching entertainment articles to niche magazines. That led to my getting hired to work on the Official Buffy the Vampire Slayer Magazine and a deal to write the official quiz book. A few years later, I sold my first romance novel and I've been going back and forth between fiction and non-fiction ever since.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I just wrote a blog post about this. The first original story I wrote was a scifi epic called How Many K's in Delaney. It was about a lone astronaut who, when he encounters a group of aliens, begins to worry that it's all in his head. (Hmm...seems to be a recurring theme with me.)
Who are your favorite authors?
I buy every book by John Sandford and Faye Kellerman, the minute they come out. I've been heavily influenced by the works of Shirley Jackson and Dashiell Hammett.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The need for Diet Coke. No, seriously, I get out of bed every day to see what's going to happen next! It's like reading a novel that never ends.
What is your writing process?
I'm what you call a modified panster. I usually dive right in with little thought to where I'm going. After a few pages, I start to form an outline in my mind but I don't usually do more than jot down notes now and then. I write in Scrivener, which allows me to keep all my notes in one place and makes it easy to organize the story on the fly.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Watching TV and surfing the internet. I've been a fangirl since I was a child and I watch a few hours of TV every night. Since I work on the web, I also spend a lot of time discovering new articles, apps and videos online. There's a lot of amazing stuff out there and some pretty wacky things, too.
What are you working on next?
I'm juggling a couple of project both non-fiction and fiction. On the non-fiction side, I have another book of interviews to go with my Supernatural book of interviews. This one is all about classic TV.
On the fiction side, I'm just starting on a book about a haunted movie studio. It's a theme I've wanted to visit for many years and I think this is the right time.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's two things, actually. Internally, I love it when characters start to talk, walk and surprise me. I know that sounds crazy, but when you're really into writing a book, the characters take over and that's so fun.
Externally, I enjoy knowing that I've lightened someone's day for even a half hour. If a stressed mom can close the door and be transported to a different world for awhile, then I've done my job. I just want to entertain.
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