What inspires you to write and why? That’s such an impossible question! I don’t think of writing as inspiration at all, it’s a constant state of being. It’s the way I process life, and the way I live life.
What genre are you most comfortable writing? Like most writers, I write what I most like to read. So that would be psychological thrillers, suspense, dark mysteries, psychological horror (not in-your-face horror!) I need suspense and thrills and psychological exploration.
What inspired you to write your first book? Pure fury. I was a screenwriter and working on a script for a production company that was having all these internal political struggles. Yes, it was a writing job, but it had turned into the day job from hell. But fury is a wonderful motivator and at the end of the day, every day, I was so pissed off at the producers I was working for that I would make myself write five minutes a day on the novel, my ghost story The Harrowing, EVERY NIGHT, just out of spite.
Okay, the trick to this is – that if you write five minutes a day, you will write more than five minutes a day, sometimes a whole hell of a lot more than five minutes a day most days. But it’s the first five minutes that are the hardest. And that often ended up happening. Sometimes I was so tired that all I could manage was a sentence, but I would sit down at my desk and write that one sentence. But some days I’d tell myself all I needed to write was a sentence, and I’d end up writing three pages. I had a book in six months. The Harrowing sold within two weeks and went on to be nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and an Anthony Award for Best First Novel.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began? Oh my God, everyone. Everything. Travel, surrealist painters, Lindy Hop, movies, books, people on planes. Literally everything.
What made you want to be a writer? It’s an odd thing, but I feel a tremendous responsibility to make these characters and worlds in my head real. It’s really obsessive. I can’t stop until it’s done. Once I have the idea I am driven to finish.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? I think the amount of time you have to sit, literally sit in a chair at a desk, to make it happen. I’m a very physical person and eight hours per day in a chair is a real challenge for me. Thank God there’s the other half of writing, which is promotion, and a lot of that is on the road, meeting people, more social things. Even some dancing!
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? This is really my first series and it’s teaching me to rely on my readers. In some ways the reader feedback is shaping the books and the storyline. It’s a fantastic symbiosis.
Do you intend to make writing a career? Writing is my career. I’ve been making a living at it since I was twenty-five years old, first as a screenwriter, now as a novelist.
Have you developed a specific writing style? I seem to have! My readers and reviews often say things like “hauntingly beautiful” and “darkly poetic.” They also say, “scared the crap out of me” and “couldn’t sleep alone for a week.” So a cross between those things, I guess!
What is your greatest strength as a writer? I think I’m able to put a nail-biting suspense story into a reader’s head as if they’re actually seeing a movie.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I don’t believe in writer’s block. Do plumbers get “plumber’s block”? Of course not. You go to work every day and some days are good and some days are bad, but there’s no excuse not to work. When my father died I found it impossible to write fiction, but that wasn’t writer’s block, that was grief. I wrote a non-fiction book during that time instead of a novel. But other people don’t get to stop working because of life – why should writers?
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Genre – Mystery / Thriller
Rating – PG13