People ask me a lot of the same questions, so here are some of the more common answers:
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: To borrow an answer from my favorite author in the whole world – Elizabeth Peters – I mail-order them from a small convenience store in Nebraska. More seriously, ideas are everywhere, just waiting to be scooped up. Television, newspapers, songs, other people’s books, conversations… In at least two books, the entire plot came out of the title – A Cutthroat Business and Friends with Benefits. I have enough ideas to keep busy writing books for the rest of my life, and they show no sign of stopping. I hope they never will!
Q: Did you always want to be a writer?
A: Yes and no. I remember being five, and sitting on the floor in a friend’s living room writing and illustrating a “book” about a black poodle named Top. (I daresay I wanted a poodle, and my mother wouldn’t let me have one, and that was my way of vicariously getting what I wanted.) In school, my first grade teacher told my parents I’d probably end up being a writer. But as time went by, I got sidetracked into theatre, and it wasn’t until the acting bug let go – sometime in my twenties – that I went back to writing. Writing and acting are really just two sides of the same coin, you know, even if one is introverted and the other extroverted. They’re both about getting into the head of a character and experiencing life through their eyes. But I didn’t consider writing as a possible career until 2005, when I met the fabulous Tasha Alexander. Her first book was about to be released, and I got to go through the process of releasing a book with her. She sat down with me and taught me everything she knew. She encouraged me, and critiqued my manuscript, and helped me make lists of agents to send it to, and helped craft my query letter, and helped me revise the manuscript when the rejections came in. If it weren’t for her, I might still have gotten here at some point, but it wouldn’t have been when and how I did.
Q: Will you be writing any more Cutthroat Business mysteries – AKA books about Rafe?
A: Short answer: Yes. Long answer: At the moment, I’m shooting for 20 books before I call it quits – and I may not stop there. It depends on how much story is left, and how tired I am of the characters, and of spending half my life in Savannah’s head. So at the moment at least, 2020 is safe. Ask me about 2019 later.
Q: Will you be writing any more DIY home renovation mysteries?
A: Short answer: No. Long answer: Unfortunately not. I spoke to the editor and publisher about it in the fall of 2014, because I had a killer idea for book 8 – no pun intended – and the earliest they could get a book out into the world was late 2016. Not because of how long it would take me to write it – which would be a couple of months – but because of their production schedule. Late 2016 is three years after December 2013 when Home for the Homicide was released, and sadly, it was decided at that point that it was too long to wait. Readers would forget that the series existed by the time the next book was released. So the series is over. Sorry.
Q: Will you be writing any more science fiction books about Quinn and company? How about the Greek gods?
A: At the moment, none of that is in the works. But they’re up there in my head, and once in a while they make themselves known, to make sure I won’t forget about them. I hope to get back there eventually.
Q: Will you be writing any more books about the FBI’s Art Crime Team/Jo Brennan/the Peckers girls/take your pick?
A: Short answer: I’d like to. Long answer: I’d like to… but there are only so many hours in the day, and so many days in the year, and I have to pick and choose what I focus on. There isn’t enough time to write everything, at least not all the time. So maybe in the future, but I have no immediate plans to add to any of those series in the next six months to a year. Don’t write them off, though. As soon as a killer idea presents itself, and takes possession of my brain, any plans I have to do or not to something, go right out the window.
Q: Will you ever write the Norwegian police procedural/the cruise ship caper/the firemen romances/the Alaska series/that Wild West mystery you’ve mentioned?
A) Same answer as above. Until I can clone myself and put out books twice as fast, I have to pick my battles, and at the moment, nobody’s really waiting for those. I’d like to write them all, but it comes down to choosing to focus on what will pay my mortgage and put food on the table. So one day, yes. I’d like to. But probably not this year. Unless I really feel inspired, and then I will.
Q: Can you read my manuscript and tell me what you think of my book?
A: I’m afraid not. I’m sure your manuscript is great, but the last thing I want, is to find out that your story has anything at all in common with the one I’m working on. That wouldn’t be good for either of us. If you want feedback on your WIP – work in progress – there are lots of wonderful organizations and author loops out there you can turn to, but I’m not your gal.
Q: My book is being released soon. Will you blurb it/give it an endorsement?
A: Maybe. Depends on whether my name on your book will mean anything to your audience or not. If not, there’s no point. If you write horror/erotica/middle grade adventure/YA fantasy/historical romance/a whole lot of other genres I don’t write, my opinion of your book – and my name on your cover – won’t amount to a hill of beans. If you wrote a cozy mystery, or a romantic mystery, you can drop me a line and ask. If I have time, I might.