From all the
books you have written, do you have a favorite?
Hour of the Hunter, my first thriller, remains
my favorite, followed closely by its sequel,
Kiss of the
Bees. The stories and legends woven into the background of
those two books
are the stories and legends I learned during my
years as a K-12 Librarian on an Arizona
At what point in time did you realize that writing was
"the thing for you"?
In second grade I read the Wizard of Oz. As soon as
I did so, I realized someone had
put the words on those pages,
and I wanted to be that person.
What advice would you give to someone
interested in becoming a writer?
Read and Write! Once, upon hearing I was a writer,
a young man told me, "I have wrote a
novel." It was all I
could do to keep from asking him, "In what language?" Writers
have a thorough grasp of whatever language they plan to use
for writing. It isn't the editor's
job to correct grammar
and punctuation. That's the writer's responsibility.
Also, don't tell me that someday, when your life is perfect,
you plan to write the great American
novel. Write right
now! I wrote my first three books while I was a single parent
with two small
children, no child support, and a full time job
selling life insurance. I wrote from 4 AM to 7 AM
What is the name of your favorite mystery movie?
Fried Green Tomatoes At
the Whistle Stop Cafe.
What other authors do you enjoy reading?
Don Winslow, Lindsay
Davis, Lawrence Block.
Do you normally do a lot of research when writing a
I do whatever
research is necessary but the problem is, research is a lot easier
than starting a
book. So I try to limit that so I can
concentrate on the writing.
What other types of jobs have you had?
I've been a teacher and a
librarian, and I sold life insurance for ten years. Between
books and selling life insurance, I'd have to say that
the former is far easier than the latter.
Do you attend conventions and
usually attend Left Coast Crime and sometimes Bouchercon. And
I do approximately
30 signings per book. Considering that
my 28th book will be published in August, that means
lots of signings.
Is there anyone, in particular, who influenced
My father read to us
out of the Treasury of the Familiar. His love of poetry and
a love of reading in my life which led to what
I do now.
What led you to write mysteries?
Nancy Drew, the Hardy
Boys, the Dana Girls. I always read mysteries--and still
read reviews of your books?
I read them, but I try to not be too buoyed by the good
ones or too devastated by the bad.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a story-teller whose
tales were good enough to beguile to time.
What do you believe is the
highlight of your writing career so far?
A few years ago, the wife of an acquaintance
was hospitalized for surgery. The day after
the incision was attacked by a flesh-eating bacteria. She
spent the next 90
days on a respirator and in intensive
care before she finally recovered and was released.
Her husband wrote to say, "I have now read every one of
your wonderful books. I don't
know how I would have made it
through this time without them." Hitting the New York
List was wonderful, but that letter was the high point.
Do you write
on a fixed schedule or do you wait until thoughts come to you?
I write on a deadline,
one of which is very close right now. At the moment, however,
son-in-law is undergoing chemo for melanoma and yesterday
I attended my eighty-six year
old father's funeral in
Arizona. It's not a matter of "schedule." It's a matter
of working in a
concentrated fashion when time
did you get started in writing?
I started writing my first book in March of
1982. That one never sold to anyone. The second
Until Proven Guilty, was bought by the second editor who saw
it. Based on the first
manuscript, getting published is
impossible. Based on the second, it's easy. The truth is
somewhere in between.
How do you come up with plots?
I think them
take any classes on how to write?
I wasn't allowed in the creative writing classes at the
University of Arizona in 1964 because
I was a girl. So,
no, I've taken no classes. But it's no accident that the
crazed killer in my
thriller, Hour of the Hunter, turns out to
be a former professor of Creative Writing from the
you ever get writer's block?
Yes. How do I treat it? I
are your hobbies and interests?
I've written 29 books in 20 years. I have a family of a
husband, five children, three grandchildren,
and two dogs. When
would I have time for a hobby?
How do you spend your free time?
We do some traveling, but
free time isn't plentiful.
Do you have a message you would like to give
to all the readers out there?
Yes, thanks for reading. It's fans who make
writing careers possible. And, please check out