Quite often I visualize the cover almost as soon as I have the idea for the story. Some times I right the story from the picture I have in my head of the title or main character. So in most of my books, the cover is also one of the storey illustrations.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Larry Gonick Cartoon History of the World (all 5 volumes ) He has been writing and illustrating these since the 70s when they were Underground Comics (which I still have ). They are so well researched and written, I'd put them in every school if I had the funds. They are easy to read and understand, and tell you lots of stuff they left out in school, even at the college level. The sex and violence may not be suitable for kids.
Bill Bryson A Short History of Nearly Everything: I keep an UN-abridged audio book in my car, and the hard bound at home.
Michael Talbot The Holographic Universe: This book is fascinating, even if it's outside your beliefs or training.
I remember what I *think* was my first story. We were studying mythology in sixth grade and had to write our own myth. I wrote a story about a giant who was a shoemaker, and how an accident he had created the Mississippi River! I think I still have that paper around here somewhere...
What do you read for pleasure?
When I really just want to be in the moment, I spend time with my son or with our dog. They really keep me grounded and present. When I want to be more meditative, I crochet. I love the productivity of it, while the activity is very relaxing while letting my mind wander.
I HATE covers that just show the key protagonist looking determined and / or sexy and prefer those that are based on symbols or ideas within the text. The cover for Strandline was a lucky shot of a tank full of dogfish eggs at the Scarborough Sealife centre - they're an example of mermaid's purses. /C has a cover based on a shot of one of the supports of the launch ramp at the RNLI lifeboat shed, also in Scarborough; I liked the way the water was caught in the well at its base, forming concentric C shapes. It kind of looks like an ear, but there's lots of other things that can be read into it if you want, same as the title. The colours have been changed so the white fades into blue and from there into earthy tones and the grain and brightness have also been manipulated to make it look a bit surreal. The reasons for that will be clear when you read the book. I've kept the font for the title and author name simple on each. I love the Penguin Classics covers and I think it shows. If anything comes of writing I'll let someone else take on the job, but I'll probably still be a control freak nightmare.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My list changes dependent on my mood and what I've recently read. This is a truly rubbish question. Nothing truly "YA" makes the list. I don't read a huge amount of YA stuff in all honesty, and when I do it's generally the serious stuff - Melvin Burgess, Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman... Here's five books for the sake of it. The Complete Works of Shakespeare "Black Swan Green" by David Mitchell "Ulysses" by James Joyce. Anything by Graham Greene. Genius. "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding
Whatever strikes my fancy! Since November it's been a lot of Shakespeare, Dickens, and Aeschylus. Prior to that it was a lot of Arthur C. Clarke and Neal Stephenson. Prior to that Robert Crais and Ken Follett. Mysteries, espionage, thrillers, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and horror are my favorite genres for escape. I have a thirty minute drive to work and listen to a lot of non-fiction audiobooks--Erik Larson, Bill Bryson, biographies and histories.
Who are your favorite authors?
I could easily do a top 40--there are so many books I love. Even a top 10 seems a bit much, but it would be difficult for me to leave any of these writers off of a list of favorites. So here they are.
#10 Bill Bryson - A Walk in the Woods, 1927, and A Short History of Nearly Everything are all brilliant--humorous and full of delicious stories. I enjoy listening to him read his books as much as I enjoy reading them myself. #9 Dennis Lehane - Mystic River blew me away. A common theme that runs through this list is that certain scenes from these writers' books inhabit my mind like I lived through them. A certain character's death in Mystic River stands out to me as one of the best murder scenes ever written--sad, powerful. #8 Daniel Silva - I plan my reading around when the next Gabriel Allon book gets released. The brilliant plots and international settings are always a treat. #7 Michael Connelly - I also plan my reading around when the next Michael Connelly book gets released. The plots are always brilliant, but he adds something more. When Harry Bosch goes home and turns on the jazz, it's just a reminder that I've been living with him since The Black Echo. Connelly also does a masterful job of making Los Angeles a character in his novels. He has more or less defined that city for me. #6 Russell Banks - The Darling, Continental Drift, and Lost Memory of Skin are a few novels that are must reads for anyone. The Darling is probably my favorite of his. I learned quite a bit about Liberia, and there were scenes so devastating I walked through the rest of the week dazed. Powerful stuff. #5 Michael Ondaatje - Novels like The English Patient and Anil's Ghost contain such beautiful passages. Want to see how a master opens a novel? Read the first few pages of The English Patient. Ondaatje, like Harrison (#1 on this list), is also a poet. There's something to be said about novelists who write a lot of poetry. Stunning language. #4 Stephen King - Of all the authors on this list, I've been reading King the longest. From the early greats like The Shining and The Stand to the new greats like Under the Dome and 11/22/63, I love going where he wants to take us--it's always somewhere unique! #3 Nick Hornby - High Fidelity and About a Boy. If I had to (gasp in horror) sell off my book collection, these wouldn't be going anywhere. #2 Haruki Murakami - Norwegian Wood is the novel of my twenties. I was living in Korea at the time, and the setting of the book reminded me a lot of where I was living. Many of Toru Watanabe's experiences as a young college student spoke to me. It was a great companion. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore are brilliant as well. #1 Jim Harrison - For the philosophy, the poetry, the sheer love of life. Legends of the Fall, Dalva, The Road Home, Songs of Unreason, the Brown Dog novellas, and everything else he's written. I don't know if any other writer on this list has taught me quite as much about life as Harrison has. I'll be rereading his stories and poetry for the rest of my life.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I cannot remember exactly the first story I ever read, which was probably nearly 30 years ago. However, I do distinctly remember that one of the first stories that had an impact on me was the Faraway Tree series, by Enid Blyton. I adored all the children's books by Enid Blyton, which prompted me to actually think that I could also write a book myself.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I am currently using the Moon Reader, installed in my Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone. It's not perfect, but it serves me just fine.
My most recent title is "Mindfulness Meditation: Bringing Mindfulness into Everyday Life". The book is about being present and enjoying our capacity to feel peaceful and content in the present moment. However, the emphasis of this book is to remind the reader to bring mindfulness into everyday life, which means that we have to let go of negative emotions and unhealthy attachments to outcomes. No one can be mindful and peaceful in the present moment without being able to forgive and be compassionate, loving, kind and open-minded.
What do you generally write about?
I write about different approaches to practising meditation and yoga and I have written books on personal development and self-awareness. All of my books are grounded in the teachings of the Wisdom Traditions with practical tools to enhance mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Creating something new that was never there before, which can now (hopefully) be enjoyed forever.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything and nothing. I always hope others will read and enjoy what I write, since without an audience my writing would have little impact. But ultimately, I write for me and will continue to do so even if I have no fans.
I browse online, searching for favourite genres or authors. Sometimes a new name appeals because of a striking cover or a good blurb, and then I'll take a look at a sample. Sampling is a must for me nowadays. Too often, and even with a print copy in a bookshop, I have rushed to purchase and been disappointed. Once I find an author I like I'll look at everything they have written.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I used to make up stories for my son, inventing as I went along while monitoring his expression for the effect. From age 2 to age 8 he was my inspiration (and unsuspecting tutor) in the art of creating fiction. Most of all, it was a most satisfying exercise for a new mum. Later I wrote down a few of these tales and later still had a go at writing a mystery for adults. It was a short story, and I sold it for a couple of quid to Central Press, a London agency that supplied features for newspapers. Its title: "The Man Beyond Suspicion". I have always enjoyed reading whodunits, so I suppose it was natural to begin writing them. I also love country music, which is why my female sleuth follows that vocation. Her very first case was bought by the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (The Clue of the Willy-Willy, set in outback Australia. This same story has been republished as Blood On The Wind). Since then, Sheil B. Wright has visited other lands to sing, solve murders and irritate various police investigators throughout the world.