I had so much fun with this blog! Not the usual questions I’ve been asked, and it makes for an entertaining read that divulges a little more about who I am.
What’s your favorite thing about the writing process?
When I start a novel, I create a basic outline of my main plot and then I let my imagination take over. I never really know where my characters will take me or exactly what subplots might develop, so it’s like I start a new adventure every day.
Do you have a writing routine?
I like to get started early in the morning, and I usually pick-up where I left off without reviewing the previous day’s work. Sometimes I’ll write for the entire day, but most of the time I write for 3-4 hours, and then spend the rest of the day editing or working on promotional stuff. And I almost always have a cat in my lap!
What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
Laying out a timeline that works. In my mind, I picture how the story works, but when I actually start writing, I’ll find that I need more/less time for something than I thought. It took me several weeks to sort out the timeline for a section of Thirst because of its fast pace, and I had to rewrite several scenes to make everything fit together just right.
What’s more important – characters or plot?
I think plot is more important overall because it acts as the backbone of my story, and once it’s in place, my characters are free to create rich, interesting scenes.
What’s the oldest thing you own and still use?
An enameled cast iron Le Creuset pot that I bought 35 years ago. It’s the perfect risotto pot, and although its interior is scratched and discolored, it’s still going strong.
What do you love about where you live?
Vancouver, British Columbia gives me the ocean at my doorstep with the smell of salt air and the cry of seagulls, but it’s also only a few hours from the mountains. It’s an energetic, lively city with interesting neighborhoods, restaurants, art galleries and museums, so there’s never a shortage of things to do.
What’s your favorite treat for movie night?
Without popcorn, a movie just isn’t the same.
What is your superpower?
I’m a cat whisperer. I love cats, and they seem to know it, so I become quick friends even with strays.
Where is your favorite place to visit?
That’s a tough question to answer, because I have so many favorites! I’ll happily hop a plane to visit big cities like New York or London for the arts and culture, but I also love Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park for its dinosaur bone beds and Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim National park for its pounding surf. Of all of them, New York is the one that I’ve been to the most often, and I even called it home for a few months.
Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?
Mostly I draw from other people I’ve met for my characters, but a few of my own bad traits show up from time-to-time. Alex Graham and I share a tendency to be a little too impulsive, and Thirst’s Dr. Eric Keenan works too much, which is something I’m always trying to keep in check.
Have you ever killed off a character fictionally, as revenge for something someone did in real life?
Believe me, I’ve thought about it, but so far these scenes haven’t made their way into my thrillers. However, I have taken out my revenge by making things harder for my characters. Corporal Nathan Taylor is one such character–I really put the poor man through the ringer in Thirst!
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Cherries, blueberries, and fresh peaches from the Canadian Okanagan Valley. Lots of veggies and all the ingredients for anything Greek: feta cheese, pine nuts, yogurt and black olives. And of course, there’s always a bottle of white wine!
What is the most daring thing you’ve done?
My very first time in a kayak, I paddled the icy waters of Antarctica. There were leopard seals nearby and they have been known to attack kayaks so I was a little freaked out, but the experience was exhilarating!
What would your main character say about you?
Alex Graham would say that I’m a damn good geologist but I spend too much time in the office and I should join her out in the field searching for gold, silver and the like.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
My author biography because I’m not very good at talking about myself. I’m fine in an interview like this one, but if you give me a blank canvas and ask me to come up with a thousand words about myself I more or less freeze.
Who is your favorite fictional character?
Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon. This artist who is a Mossad agent is an incredibly rich character, and I find him very compelling.
What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
I was only sixteen when I won a public speaking contest that rewarded me with a week in New York at the United Nations with other North American high school students. It doesn’t come up much because it happened so very long ago, but it was a pivotal moment in my life.
What’s your favorite song?
“Hotel California” by the Eagles, both because of the great music and also because I just love the line “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” It comes to mind anytime I’ve faced with a frustrating, logic-defying situation. I had one this week, when I tried to cancel an airline ticket. I could hit the cancel button as often as I liked, but it never did anything but retrieve the ticket details!
What is your favorite movie?
Dr. Zhivago. I especially love the icy, winter scenes, and Omar Sharif and Julie Christie make the story come alive.
What are you working on now?
The second Alex Graham suspense thriller which will take our intrepid geologist to Brazil and beyond.