I would have to say Ernest Hemingway is still my favorite author . He was so extraordinary . His talent . I also still read Scott Fitsgerald , who wrote much of his best works while in Tryon , North Carolina , and in Asheville , two places I love .
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to be outdoors as much as possible , rain or shine . If I can find the time I love to explore the Blue Ridge mountains and at night to take in a good time contra dance maybe , at Jone`s Gap or Black Mountain . Of course I love Charleston and the low country and hunting for that so far elusive pirate treasure that Blackbeard left behind . I have a good idea where it just might be , but I haven`t found it yet .
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was about a girl naturally , and about our first date . I believe I was twelve at the time .
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in South Carolina and spent a lot of summers on the coast . I learned then about the pirates and Blackbeard in particular . I was always fascinated with the fact that his treasure was never found . Once a friend of mine`s big sister found a silver coin dated 1723 in the sand dunes on one of the islands . I think that really got my attention .
When did you first start writing?
I first began writing when I was about twelve . There was a girl in my class who was in love with books and I was in love with her , so to get her attention I wrote her a short story . It must have been alright , she asked me to walk her home .
What's the story behind your latest book?
Blackbeard is a fascinating character who spent a good bit of time off the South and North Carolina coasts . Charleston is one of my favorite places in the whole world . The fact that Blackbeard `s men actually roamed the cobblestone streets of the Holy City , visiting the bars and bawdy houses interests me . And of course the fact that his treasure has never been found . I do believe I have an idea where it is , though . That`s all I`m going to say right now .
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is when someone has read my latest story and tells me enthusiastically , ``I could not put it down ! ''
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Well , of course we read stories in Sunday School early on about Jesus healing the sick and about him feeding the large crowds with the basket of fish and bread , and about changing the water into wine . In kindegarden we read fairy tales like Peter and the Wolf .I remember reading a little book about the beloved Confederate General Robert E. Lee , and another one about Frances Marion , the Swamp Fox . So I became interested in history when I was very young .
What do you read for pleasure?
I like to read history books , or anything by Hemingway , I`m interested in books on the old South , profiles of political leaders , past and present . I love to read The New York Times . The writing is exceptional .I enjoy books about France and Ireland , two of my favorite places . . I also like detective stories from the 40s and 50s . The Third Man is one of my favorites . The Quiet American is another . Anything by Graham Greene .
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Not sure I can limit it to five . Anything by Graham Greene or V.S. Prichette , the great English writer . I also enjoy Faulkner and Archibald Rutledge . I love the Gold Bug by Edgar Allen Poe . And of course Hemingway . Then I do read non-fiction as well . History mostly . Harry Williams wrote a great book about Huey Long . I have become interestewd in who actually killed John Kennedy since we all know by now that Oswald couldn`t have possibly done it . There are several good books on that subject out now .
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