Across a long hall of our aerospace firm busy workers leaving for the weekend, my future husband asked, “What do you have in mind?” I then asked him out for New Year’s Eve, but hoped he wouldn’t notice the illustrious occasion by calling it “this Saturday.” We went out and haven’t really been parted since. Together we earned advanced engineering degrees and adopted a seven-year-old boy from Russia, who’s turns twenty in a few weeks.
2) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing poetry and prose my whole life, including plays and musicals, but haven’t been serious about novels, or publishing, or full time, until about five years ago.
3) Do you have a favorite place to write?
I write in a small guest room, a kind of office, in a small home overlooking a valley in San Diego toward the Pacific Ocean. The Ocean is hidden by a ridge, but I know it’s there, just like I know my characters and story ideas are out there, just waiting to be born.
4) Why did you decide to write Entangled?
My sci-fi/paranormal romance/non-mainstream steampunk, Entangled came to me from several places. First, I had a dream about a young woman (think of Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth) at the edge of a cliff in Scotland, overlooking a fjord. The salty ocean fog flows over her, whiting everything else out except the sound of bagpipes. Second, I took an online course from Dawna Richards that explained past life regression and wondered, scientist that I am, what might happen if scientists go back into the past in a time machine (a quantum computer) and spiritualists go back through past life regression in order to control some famous scientific event. How might they mess up their own time lines?
5) Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
My favorite character is the best friend of my heroine, Dawn. Her name is Naomi (think The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first movie). Naomi is a hacker, in a futuristic two-class society in which the hero and heroine lives. She’s punky, spunky, and wise. And the powers that be are scared to death that she might just be plotting to take them down.
6) How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
This is a great question for me, since I really don’t have any least favorite characters. My villains, those I love to hate, tend to be automatons, the type of folk who have knee-jerk reactions to the world instead of feeling it deeply. Those would be the upper-class Cartesians at the University of Boston who are all into money and looking at the world analytically instead of with empathy.
7) Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
Fifty people, including two read and critique groups, and my three critique partners, edit 20 to 40 pages of my work in progress per month.
8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Right now, having gotten four contracts, by three different publishers, this year, I’m learning about promotion by the seat of my pants. However, I have become a fairly good social director for myself, since I find myself isolated writing and promoting my novels so often. I make sure to get out to spend a few hours with friends each day of the week.
9) Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Sadly, the paranormal romance authors I love, Marjorie Liu and Virginia Kantra, haven’t gotten much love of late, after I discovered the accessible and entertaining E.L. James of Fifty Shades fame.
10) What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.
How does your philosophy of life play into the themes of your novels?
Discovering I was hypothyroid, I realized I tended to exhibit different thought patterns and different moods when my medicine sent me hyper as opposed to hypo. Hyper, I tended to be more analytical. Hypo, I tended to be more laid back. And so the idea to create a future classed society, as in Entangled, where the hypo individuals were rational thinkers, the academicians, and the hypos were those who let go to dwell in life, to experience it.