There are so many authors I admire but it’s hard to go past the amazing Nora Roberts. I cannot pretend my writing career resembles hers even remotely, but Nora's is the voice in my head when I feel like the words aren’t coming. “You can’t fix a blank page”. And on the other hand, Susan Elizabeth Phillips is an inspiration to me because I don’t think anybody writes better relationships than SEP.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Michael Fassbender or Viggo Mortensen for Xavier and Naomi Watts for Lizzie.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Different things work at different times because I think writer’s block comes from different root causes and has different levels of severity. There are days I have sat doggedly at the computer for five hours before the writing has begun to flow (usually just before I have to leave the house to pick up children!) There are days when I need to pre-write freehand or diagram the story on a white board or merely think about it from a different perspective.
I listen to old RWA workshops a lot and as people are telling me the elements of story and craft, my subconscious is busy applying that to my own story. People who have studied creativity maintain that inspiration comes from, firstly, working very, very hard on brainstorming a problem, secondly, walking away to rest the conscious mind and let the subconscious work, then, thirdly, returning to the problem the following day or after a good few hours have passed. You often find sudden insights and inspiration when you follow this practice. (Incidentally, this is why we *always* think of the perfect comeback to an insult hours after the fact.) Try writing first thing in the morning before everyone else is up, before your critical brain has the chance to take over. Your subconscious will have been working on the book while you sleep.
Other times, it’s a problem with the story. You’ve gone wrong somewhere and you need to stop and work out how you’re going to fix that wrong turn before you can continue. Some people say just bash through the first draft and that works for some people but not for everyone. Writer’s block (if you want to call it that but I think just giving it the name makes it scarier than it needs to be) might even come from trying to deny yourself the process that works best for you.
Sometimes the problem stems from emotional trauma. Some writers might welcome writing as an escape or a way to express pain. But if you’re not one of those writers, and there’s no reason why you should be, then as far as I know, there’ s no simple fix for that except for time. Above all, be kind to yourself.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I’m grateful that people are reading my books! They’re entitled to their opinions. I must admit, I don’t often read reviews any more unless my editor sends them to me.
How do you relax?
By reading, of course!
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
One that my agent sent me on a card years ago: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” Which makes no actual sense but I think we all know the sentiment!
One place you’ve never been, but ALWAYS wanted to go?
Egypt. I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mysteries and I’d love to see all the places she writes about.
If you weren’t an author what would be your next choice of career?
I think I’d like to be an editor. It would have to be something to do with books.
White wine or red? Red
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Cook dinner or order take-out/delivery? Cook
Outdoorsman or homebody? Homebody
City Life or Country Life? City Life
Do you prefer to live in hot weather or cold weather? Hot!!
Dog Lover or Cat Fan? Dog Lover
Pancakes or eggs? Pancakes
Sleep in or get up early? Get up early
Laptop or desktop for writing? Laptop with wireless keyboard