At the top of a very long list (and confining myself to romance) would be Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Eloisa James, Nora Roberts, Kristan Higgins, Darynda Jones, and Lisa Kleypas. But I could go on and on. I do read non-romance authors as well, but I don’t want to write a phone book here!
2.Who has had a major influence on your writing?
I wonder if Jane Austen had any idea she’d be a beacon for so many budding women authors? I’m definitely in that group, but I’d also have to add Susan Elizabeth Phillips for the way she brings readers so deeply into her characters’ hearts and minds. I’ve been very influenced by British authors such as Nancy Mitford and Dodie Smith due to their brilliant, almost nostalgic humor.
3.Can you name at least one book that you never finished?
Finished writing or finished reading? (Let’s not talk about that first choice.) I surprised myself by never finishing The Corrections. I thought I was more literary than that. But I still mean to get back to it someday. Never say never.
4.What word or words do you always have trouble spelling?
Weird. Caffeine. Anything with that funky “ei” combination. I really wish we could just go with a simple “ee” and call it good.
5.What three adjectives best describe you?
Light-hearted. Angst-ridden. Schizophrenic.
6.Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
I’d want to be any character who is naturally, stunningly beautiful. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to walk into a room and have everyone gawk at my sheer gorgeousness. But I wouldn’t want to be that way for long – too much pressure. I’d just like to try it out for an hour or so.
7.Which author would you invite to dinner?
Since Jane Austen might not have much to say at this point, I’d invite Nora Roberts and ply her with liquor until she reveals the secret of eternal bestseller-dom. If she’s not available (she’s probably busy) I’d invite J.K. Rowling and bring my little girl along. Brownie points for life.
8.Where do you write?
Anywhere and everywhere. I prefer to be at my desktop computer with the view of distant glaciers, but beggars can’t be choosers, and I write wherever I happen to be when a window of time opens up. I always have my laptop with me. Once I finished a book in the cab of a truck while everyone else was fishing.
9.When do you write?
Whenever I can clear some time and space for myself. It might be pre-dawn or midnight. I’m very fierce about protecting my writing time. I’ve found that nothing gets done without it (surprise!) and that I go a little crazy if I don’t get it. I’d like to have a strict writing schedule, but it’s not always possible. So I set goals that must be met before I sleep.
10.What makes you happy?
A good book. Time and space to let my mind roam free. New experiences. Tropical temperatures. Single origin chocolate. Most of all, seeing other people happy, especially if I had something to do with it. I love making people happy.
11.What do you most fear?
Failure and rejection, which to me are intertwined. These are inconvenient fears for a writer, by the way. If anyone wants to know how to deal with rejection, come find me. It is survivable, in writing and in life.
12.What is your favorite vice?
Laziness. My academic family trained the laziness out of me, but when I allow myself to revert to my natural state, I’m a grade A lounger.
13.What is the quality you most like in yourself?
Persistence. I used to think that if I wasn’t great at something right away, I shouldn’t bother with it. But the best things in my life have come from sustained effort over time. So I’ve come to treasure my persistence above all my other qualities.
14.What are the qualities you most like in your friends?
Tolerance. A sense of humor. Compassion. Adventurousness. Trustworthiness.
15.Would you be lying if you said your works were not autobiographical?
Partially. You wouldn’t recognize me in my characters, but I think you can tell a lot about an author from their works, though maybe not in any precise, verifiable way. Books are like dreams – your subconscious is working things out whether you’re aware of it or not. Their connection to reality is not always clear-cut, but it’s there.
16.What part of your personality do you detest?
My shyness. I tend to be reserved with new people, who usually turn out to be wonderful. I’ve wasted much time over the years waiting to see if I could trust someone when I could have been enjoying them.
17.What is your favorite adjective?
Irridescent. I love the sound of it, with the r’s and s’, and how the sound echoes a visual effect.
18.What is your favorite book?
Little Women, but I’m only saying that because you’re making me. There are so many books I love passionately. Picking one feels so ruthless. I want all my other favorites to know I love them too!
19.What book would you read three times?
I’ve read many books several times. I’ve read all of Jane Austen’s books at least five times, at different points in my life. They always have something more for me, something I wasn’t wise enough to notice the previous times I read them.
20.To whom would you award the Nobel Prize for Literature and why?
J.K. Rowling. I think the Harry Potter books are an incredible achievement that has influenced an entire generation.