1. Tell me about your books The Eternal Ones and All You Desire. How did you come up with those story angles or ideas?
I always describe these books as thrillers about the mystery of love. They’re rather dark, twisted tales in which most of the heroes and villains believe they’ve been reincarnated. The series began with a single thought: What if we’ve lived other lives?I wouldn’t say I’m a believer, but I do think reincarnation offers an interesting explanation for a remarkable number of life’s little mysteries. . . .Why do we feel instantly drawn to certain people—and repelled by others? Why do some of us long for places we’ve never visited? How can little children possess unusual talents or inexplicable phobias? Why do some people believe they were born into the wrong bodies? Why do we all experience déjà vu?
But there was one little “mystery” I was particularly keen to address in the Eternal Ones series. Why do so many of us believe in love at first sight?
2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (YA-lit)?
I didn’t set out to write YA books. I still don’t feel like I write books for a particular audience. I always write to amuse myself. It’s the only way I’m able to stay interested in my work. Writing can be a grueling endeavor, and if I’m not personally interested in the story I’m telling, I know it’s going to come through in my books.
3. What kind of research did you do for this series?
I guess you could say I spent my whole life researching these books. I’ve been fascinated by the subject of reincarnation since I was a kid. I’ve read countless books on the subject. So when it came time to sit down and write this series, I really didn’t need to do much additional research.
4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
When I’m feeling inspired, I can write for eight to ten hours straight. When I’m not feeling inspired, I force myself to stay put until I’m feeling inspired again. (That’s the hard part.)
I write at a desk in my home office. I always wear earplugs so my concentration won’t be broken. One of my biggest splurges in recent years was purchasing a top-quality desk chair. If you sit on your butt for eight hours a day, a good chair is essential. I drink copious amounts of coffee and almost always forget to have lunch.
When I’m working on a book, I try to write a thousand words a day. Sometimes I manage to surpass that goal, and sometimes I fall short. But I always follow the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given . . . I don’t call it a day unless I’m at a place in the story where I know exactly what happens next.
5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
6. What’s the best thing about being an author?
Meeting and hearing from readers. Never be afraid to send your favorite author a note. It helps us remember why we do what we do.
7. What are you working on now?
I have two books that are at different stages of the editing process. And I’m just getting started on a new novel (my seventh). I’m a big fan of ghost stories and horror novels, and this new book will be a bit of both.
8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Writing isn’t supposed to be easy. So don’t get discouraged if a story or book is making you suffer a bit. That’s part of the process. Sometimes the hardest books to write are the most fun to read.
9. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Michael Chabon (The Mysteries of Pittsburgh), Philip K. Dick (collected stories), Angela Carter (Wise Children), Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre)
10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Q: What are the three most inspirational things you’ve seen in the past year?
A: The masks on the mannequins at the Alexander McQueen show at the MET. The clove of garlic that was hurled at my bum by the ghost that shares my apartment with me. An untitled work by the painter Mark Rothko at the Museum of Modern Art.
11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
I Made It All Up
1) If you could trade places with a person for a single day, who would it be and why?
Anyone who can really belt out a tune. But I’ll go left-field and say Debbie Harry back in the Blondie days. The lady had some serious style. And I bet she had a really good time.
2) What was the last movie you saw?
I watched Dream House last night. It’s a ghost story (though not a terribly good one) and I considered it research for my next project.
3) What is your biggest TV addiction?
Any show about Bigfoot. And Downtown Abbey. Ha.
4) Guilty pleasure?
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to refuse to feel guilty about enjoying any of life’s little pleasures. Particularly cheese.
5) Fruits or veggies?
Avocados. The missing link.
6) Favorite childhood toy?
7) What did you have for breakfast this morning?
What I always have. A Cliff Bar and coffee.