1.Where do your book ideas come from? How do you choose from your list of ideas which book to write next?
My book ideas come from many different places. MEGAN'S WAY was born from an event with my mother, while CHASING AMANDA was born from my deepest fear. My next book, COME BACK TO ME, came to me while I was preparing for my husband to leave for a tour in Iraq. My next novel, SHADES OF GRAY, was developed from an image of an elderly character that visited me one day. The way I view the world–everything from my environment to the people I meet and the clothes I see in stores–all are followed by the silent questions, "Where can this go?"
I have a backlog of about four books that I have already begun, and new ideas come to me very often. I choose what to write next by how I feel about the story. If I think I'll start one story, and I begin, but it just isn't flowing, then I move on to one that is. When the time is right for a story to be written, it lets me know.
2. Which of the characters in Chasing Amanda is most like you and why.
I'm most like Molly. I'm terribly stubborn about believing in the untangible and I believe intuition is highly under-valued by many. I'm also a runner, and I think if I were in Molly's position, I would have chosen to look for Tracey over my spouse, too. A spouse is an adult, and can typically take care of themselves, while a child has only the adults that care enough to value their life, lead them in the right direction, and in Tracey's case, try to save them.
3. Both Chasing Amanda and Megan's Way have key younger characters, although the story is told from an adult's POV. Have you ever considered writing a book through a younger characters eyes…perhaps a Young Adult or Middle Reader Book?
My fourth book, SHADES OF GRAY, is written from the perspective of a sixteen year old girl (so far). After MEGAN'S WAY, so many people wrote to me raving about Olivia and her character, that my editor (who had been asking me to write a YA novel for months) finally pulled me aside and said, basically, that I had to do it, lol. I'm glad I did. I never expected it to be so fun or so easy to climb into the head of a teenager again, but I'm right there and loving every second of it.
4.Is it difficult to be writing one book while doing the book tour for another–switching from creative mode to publicity mode?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. It's not so much difficult as it is all-consuming. Many authors don't love the marketing aspect of writing, but I crave it. Meeting and chatting with readers is one of the best part of being an author (for me). I wish I had two days for every one. I want to connect with so many people, and there's so little time.
I am happy that some readers find their way to The Women's Nest, the social and support site that I founded, and I'm able to chat with them there, which is terrific. In September I'll be launching the Women's Literary Cafe, an extension of The Women's Nest–a site that will unite readers, authors, bloggers, and reviewers, and I'm hoping it will make the process a tad easier for those that have difficulty navigating the marketing end of writing.
5.Have you ever battled with writer's block and if so, how do you get through it?
I have been very lucky. Writer's block hasn't touched me for more than a few minutes at a time. Now that I say that, I probably won't be able to write for six months, lol. I work through it by talking aloud. I run through where the story can go next, or I skip the scene that's giving me trouble and move to a different chapter, returning once the ideas flow again. I also talk out my blocks with my kids, my editor, and my husband. They help to brainstorm and pull me through those difficult moments. It's surprising how different the ideas males come up are from a females' ideas.
6. We're all happily delving into our Summer Reading lists–and looking to add books like Chasing Amanda to our lists. What books are on your list? What books/authors are you reading or do you hope to read this summer?
I have so many that I keep staring at them and apologizing. Here are a few that are next to my bed at the moment:
Hambledown Dream, by Dean Mayes
Left Neglected, by Lisa Genova
The Murderers Daughter, by Randy Suesan Meyers
Deceptions, by Rebecca Fayn
Loverboy, by Victoria Redel