1.) Why did you write this book? What initiated this particular burst of creativity?
There were a lot of factors that went into the "spark" that ignited "Skin and Bones"; part of it was the atmosphere I was living in at the time (a haunting, rambling old Craftsman); my mental state (just being diagnosed as clinically depressed); a highly creative and encouraging house of roommates; the sudden death of a former co-worker; a break-up; and a case in the news circa 2002 that really made me wonder about evil's presence in humanity. That's one spicy meatball, so to speak, and the perfect storm for writing a really dark novel.
2.) Does your story line develop organically or is it a gestalt before you begin?
A little from Column A and a little from Column B, though I would say that in advance of the actual novel, it exists only in essence, so I start with gestalt and as I write, the story develops.
3.) Is your process to outline and then fill in the blanks or just sit down and start to tell a story or ?
Once I have an initial idea in my head, I do some note-based brainstorming to get a rough skeleton and to figure out who the major players are going to be. Then I spend some time thinking about the characters, and try to at least get a beginning, middle and end in concept form. No details present themselves in advance; the hardest part is really getting a compelling opening that doesn't expound to the reader too much. The slow reveal is tricky but worth it.
4.) Do you have a favorite character in the book and if so why?
I like Agent Ash the best, but Agent Markowitz is a definite second (don't tell Parker!); Ash because he is flawed and despite his good intentions, he sometimes is a little too abrupt (hmmm, wow, sounds familiar!), possibly because he does care so much about doing the best job he can for the victims' families. Markowitz - he's wise and still funny despite all he's seen over the years. And he's not nearly as quick to judge as Ash is.
5.) What do you like the most about writing?
To keep sane. As Lord Byron wrote, "If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad."
6.) Where do your new story ideas come from?
The most mundane things! Most often: random things I mull over while driving and listening to music.
7.) What advice has helped the most in your writing?
From my editor: action, not exposition...as Markowitz says in my book, so I really need to start listening to my characters.
8.) This seems to be your first book, do you have something new in the works?
Yes, but it's a very tough one for me emotionally and I've been procrastinating.
9.) Who is your favorite author and why?
The first one who popped into my head is Patricia Highsmith (in particular "This Sweet Sickness") because she just so completely nails obsession in that book; it was just so uncomfortable to read and yet so compelling! But Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver are really my heroes because they are absolute geniuses with minimal yet beautiful word selection. Best epic writer is Stephen King; he can create a huge world like no one else.
10.) What advice would you give for the want to be writer?Show, don't tell. Don't tell us what your character is thinking; show us by what he or she does and how they do it. Verbs, not adjectives, propel a story.
Thanks again and we will all look forward to your next book.