How many books have you published?
With the publication of Cold as Ice, my mystery total is six. Book seven
How did you become interested in writing?
My seventh grade English teacher told me I should be a writer. I can
remember everything about that moment--where I stood in her classroom,
the writing on the chalkboard, and a feeling of elation. Truth is, my
teacher scared me a bit and praise from Dottie McCord was something to
It took me a while, but I did it. I became a published author. I like to
think Mrs. McCord is smiling down on me.
What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain
number of words, do you write in the morning or evening, etc?
My writing day begins early. I stumble downstairs, start coffee, and let
the dog out. He requires watching. With his business complete, we come
back inside and I add a healthy (or unhealthy) dollop of cream to my
coffee, spend a few minutes posting 70s pictures on Facebook, then
Sometimes words flow like a river in springtime. My fingers can hardly
Other days words are scarce. Those days, I set a timer and see how many
words (even rotten-destined-to-be-deleted-words) I can write in 20
At a quarter till seven, Monday through Friday, I hear my daughter thump
out of bed. Water runs. A toilet flushes. A few minutes later she
Our exchange usually goes something like this:
Me: “Good morning.”
Her: Grunt. She opens the refrigerator. “We don’t have anything to eat.”
Me: “Of course, we do. There’s cereal (don’t judge), toast (don’t
judge), fruit, and eggs.”
Her: “It takes too long to make eggs.”
I don’t argue.
Her: “We don’t have any good cereal. We never have any good cereal.”
Me: “I buy what you ask for.”
It’s true. I do. It’s not my fault if she leaves four flakes in a box
and puts it back on the pantry shelf.
Her: “I want to make my lunch. We don’t have any food.”
Me: (looking up from a gnarly sentence with gritted teeth) “We have ham,
turkey, and Swiss cheese, two kinds of bread, carrots, apples, sweet
potato chips, and those little containers of hummus.”
Her: “None of that sounds good.” She shakes her head at my abysmal
failure as a mother.
The difficult sentence wins. I save whatever words have been added and
get ready for my day job.
Do you plot the entire book first, then write or plot as you go?
May I answer both? I know the major plot points before I begin. What
happens between those points is always an unplanned surprise.
Do you use real people and places as models for your books?
That daughter I mentioned...Is it any wonder I felt the need to give
Ellison a sometimes-problematic teenage daughter?
Who is your favorite author?
THAT is a hard question. One of the wonderful thing about being an
author is becoming friends with other other authors. It's too hard to
pick just one.
How do you promote your books?
My books are set in the 1970s--an era of questionable taste in food,
clothes, and even wine. I post 70s pictures on Facebook every morning.
Some are funny. Some are cringe-worthy. Some (I'm looking at you Jello
molds) are icky. Everyone seems to enjoy the pictures and its a great
way for me to interact with readers. As for other promotions - blog
tours, interviews, and book clubs (I LOVE book clubs).