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Black Mountain, Henderson, NV
Q. What’s the best thing about writing?
A. The ability to get lost in another time and place . . . and inside a character's mind.
Q. How do you deal with writer’s block?
A. I have a hard time NOT writing. As proof, I have post-it notes and pieces of notebook paper in various rooms of my house. Some of those notes were written at 2AM, when an idea woke me. Now, if only I could read my handwriting.
Q. Do you have anything in common with Matti James.
A. We’re both tall.
Q. Aside from Matti, who’s your favorite character.
A. That’s hard. In the Matti James series, I loved developing Abby and McClure. Each has a different personality. Abby’s delightfully flaky, means well, but has her own agenda or thinks she does. McClure’s all business, but he has a soft spot for Matti and can bend the rules. In RELENTLESS, I especially enjoyed writing the conflict between Jenna and Fuentes.
Q. Which villain was the most twisted?
A. Aren't they all?
Q. Is there a story behind Linda Marabelli’s green Lamborghini?
A. I was in a photography club at the time. Our assignment was “hot.” So, being married to a “car guy,” we went to a Lamborghini showroom to take pictures. There it was—electric green. ZOOM ! ZOOM!
Q. How did you come up with the idea of “Inbetweeners?”
A. I was doing hand- on practice in forensic facial reconstruction, when I started talking to the model skull. Things like, "Stay still." The light bulb went off! What if the victims talked back to Matti as she worked on them ? Abby Rhode sprang into being. A s the reader soon learns, not all voices from the other side are insightful.
Q. The settings seem so real. How do you do it?
A. Well, of course, I live in the Las Vegas Valley. I've also spent a great deal of time in all the other locations I mention and keep up-to-date on changes there.
Q. Who is your favorite author?
A. I read so much technical information, it’s often hard to break away for pleasure. Despite writing mysteries, I have to say my all-time favorite author is Toni Morrison. Of her books, I like SULA best. Morrison has the ability to describe a place as an extension of the people who live there. Then she goes for the jugular, using stereotype images outsiders see rather than the painful reality that lies below the surface.
Q. In EXPENDABLE, there's a lot of information about the Chernobyl disaster, is it true?
Q. In CATHY's WORLD, is the body farm a real place?
A. It's based on two actual locations, neither in California. After researching the work that goes on in these facilities and reading THE BODY FARM by Patricia Cornwell, I didn't think her descriptions were on target. You'll see different responses to my body farm from Matti, McClure, and the forensic anthropologist Dr. Liu and more information on what actually takes place there.
Q. I see a photo of Black Mountain on your website. Is that the place you write about in your books?
A. Yes. Black Mountain is part of a chain of extinct volcanoes on the eastern side of the Las Vegas Valley. The taller mountains like Mt. Charleston are on the western side of the valley.
Q. Why did you write a novel that's not in the Matti James series?
A. After six books, I felt too comfortable writing her character. Her profession also limits the story line. I'm hoping readers will be intrigued by homicide detective Jenna Simms. She's definitely not Matti.
Q. Is there a real yacht like the Southern Cross?
A. Yes. I've made a few changes to its configuration, however. I toned it down.
Q. Now that you've written RELENTLESS, will you go back to Matti?
A. I'm working on book #8 right now. It will feature a male lead. I'll let Matti take a break from me.
A NOTE TO READERS: Please review my books on Amazon. I'm grateful for your comments as well as your support. Thank you, and keep the questions coming.