I am really glad you’ve accepted my interview. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Hi! Thank you so much for contacting me for the interview. I’m always happy to answer questions for readers.
Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a writer?
I actually began in the film business, writing screenplays that were never made into movies but did attract the interest of a couple of film producers. They were very encouraging of my writing which helps a lot when you’re an unknown writer. One of them ultimately became my manager and eventually my agent. When I finally had an idea that became my first novel, he was very supportive and enthusiastic. Through him I was able to get my manuscript into the publishing world, which was not anything I was familiar with! I had a lot to learn!
Compared to screenplays, I love the lack of restrictions in a novel. Unlike movie scripts which must be between 90 and 120 pages (each page represents a minute of screen time), a novel can be as long as you want it to be. You also don’t have to worry about production costs in a novel. If I want a character to fly, I can make her fly. If I want to go back in time and explore my character’s family history, I can do that.
However, that’s all well and good when I am drafting. When I first went out to the marketplace, I discovered there are limitations! One agent who received my first manuscript told me it was too long for him to read and that I had to cut it in half before he would even look at it. I was horrified! I didn’t think I could cut anything at all but of course, I did. It went from 200,000 words to 100,000 in about 3 months. Which was still too long! When it got to my (eventual) editor, she asked me to cut even more. By that time, though, I had revised it in so many different ways, it wasn’t a big deal. I think that was a good experience to go through. Now I’m not afraid of cutting and when an editor asks for a revision, I am pretty amenable.
Was it difficult for the first book to find a publisher?
Yes! I have a drawer full of rejection letters. Every time it seemed like I had found an agent or editor who was a good fit, they would send that sad note, „I didn’t fall in love with this…“ And I remember thinking, „Do you have to LOVE it? Can’t you just LIKE it a little bit?“ But really, you want an editor or agent to love your work because there are so many obstacles to getting it sold and published that if they don’t really want to push it, it will get lost.
Could you describe literature in three words?
Immersive personal theater.
Is there a book you would never read? Why?
Wow! What an intriguing question! I would never read „Marley & Me“ or „The Art of Racing in the Rain“ or „A Dog’s Purpose.“ Basically anything in the genre of „dogs die and humans learn life lessons.“ I don’t need a sad book about a dying dog to make me realize life is worth living. (And yes, I do love dogs, especially rescues. My current dog is a poodle mix who had been abandoned in a park.)
What’s your favorite book?
I have so many! But a book that I re-read frequently and recommend to others is Douglas Adams‘ „The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.“ I love the entire series but the first book is the best. I can read it at any time of the day and in just about any mood.
„The only sin is mediocrity.“ – Martha Graham
EBooks or paper print?
Ebooks. I like to have LOTS of books to read at the same time depending on my mood. My paper books are in a big pile on my nightstand and I love looking at them but when it comes time to leave for the day, I grab my tablet instead. Much easier to have multiple choices at my fingertips.
What inspires you?
Movement. I love to dance and to walk my dog. Both activities give me time to think and explore new ideas. Dancing gets my brain engaged and thinking beyond the usual parameters; walking my dog gives me time to ruminate on stories and characters. Plus in both situations I meet the most interesting people!
Imagine you were given the opportunity to meet a book character in real life. Who would that be?
If I can only pick one, I would have a hard time choosing among Harry, Ron and Hermione so I think I would say Mary Poppins from the PL Travers‘ books.
Mary Poppins is magical. She’s mysterious and snarky, rude and vain, sometimes completely unpleasant. She says what she pleases and does what she pleases, which is inspirational in a way. I love that Travers created her to be unequivocably independent, which was unusual in the context of the time, 1934. She may have been working as a nanny but she always seemed like she didn’t have to; she could be doing anything else she wanted but chose to be a nanny at that time – until the wind blew her in a different direction.
And ah, magic. I love characters with a little bit of magic (which is one of the many reasons I adore Hermione, Ron and Harry) but the whimsical touch of Mary Poppins is charming. She doesn’t use it for nefarious purposes; it feels like everyday magic which could be completely plausible!
What’s your worst nightmare?
Philosophically? Being mediocre, as Martha Graham says. I hate my work being considered just so-so or okay. Love it or hate it.
Physically? Being stuck in a traffic jam on a bridge. It combines my 2 biggest fears: heights and claustrophobia.
The best decision of your life was?
Moving to Los Angeles from New York. The new landscape provided me with tremendous inspiration for my writing. There is a quality of light in late summer-early fall in LA which I never saw on the east coast and a curious weather pattern called the Santa Ana winds. They are powerful, dry and dangerous.
Also, in a crazy weird way, buying a ticket to the movie, „Shaun of the Dead“ was a momentous decision. It rekindled my love for zombies in a brand new way, which inspired my dance career which in turn inspired my writing.
I can’t wait to read your next book. Are you currently working on a project? Is there any release date to reveal?
I’m working on 2 right now, both young adult contemporary fiction. One is about a teenager recovering from an eating disorder who is manipulated by a former friend and the other is about a young singer who is humiliated by her boyfriend with a viral video. Both are very close to my heart, although one is lighter in tone than the other. No release dates yet.