A. Daily metropolitan newspaper reporter/feature writer and first woman member of the newspaper's Opinion Pages and Editorial Board.
Q. Favorite job
A. Interviewing the day's touring writers, actors and musicians gave me a multi-disciplinary PhD in Creativity and produced one big break: the late director and playwright Garson Kanin took my first novel, unread, to his NY publisher.
Q. High school and/or college
A. Catholic girls' schools in St. Paul, Minnesota: Our Lady of Peace High School, defunct, and the University of St. Catherine, now the largest women's higher education institution in the country.
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
Q. Favorite movie
A. "The Wizard of Oz."
Q. Favorite television show
A. Classic: "The Rockford Files" and "Remington Steele." Current: "Castle" and "Fringe."
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. Literary Chameleon: Have Creativity, Will Travel
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. If you're not busy being born, you're busy dying, to paraphrase Bob Dylan
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Savoring the present moment with the people and animals I love, writing what I believe in, and eating white chocolate peanut butter cups every day without gaining weight.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Not getting it all written down before I exit.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. After writing and cats, my favorite thing is water, so I'd be on a tropical beach listening to Jimmy Buffet.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Women who broke social barriers, Florence Nightingale, Louisa May Alcott, Annie Oakley, Rosie the Riveter, and Barbara Walters (who IS the history of media women).
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Bob Dylan, the raw and poetic voice of a cultural awakening and master of reinvention.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. I'm always editing out "evens."
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Not grabbing the chance I'd won at 21 to go to New York and get the job Anne Hathaway's character had in "The Devil Wears Prada." As the only child of a widowed Midwestern mother I heeded her fears, not my heart. After seeing the movie . . . maybe she was right.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Singing on key, with perfect pitch and a glorious range, like my husband. Instead, I'm a musical frog, but at least I snagged a prince.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Defying the "common wisdom" that you can't make a living in the arts by quitting a "forever"-secure, well-paid journalism job to write fiction full time.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
Q. What’s your best quality?
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. My writing has allowed me to "be" any gender and species from a cat to a queen to a counter-terrorist to an albino vampire. I wouldn't trade my multi-personalities for any one state, but if I was a tree, Barbara, I'd be a Hollywood Twist.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I talk with my hands.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Jo AND Amy from "Little Women," D'Artangan from "The Three Musketeers."
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Bram Stoker's Dracula, fangs down.
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Queen Elizabeth I, and I'd ask her who wrote Shakespeare's plays. She didn't miss a thing.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. People who know enough to act professionally , and don't.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Dancing class.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. As a child, I wanted to be film costumer Edith Head. Now I'd settle for ballroom dancer and just wear the glamorous costumes.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Honesty, honesty, honesty.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Those white chocolate peanut butter cups. Peanut butter is a protein and a "good" fat. The white chocolate is gravy.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. "Amazing Grace," Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," "They Call the Wind Mariah" as sung by my husband, Bob Seger's "That Old TIme Rock 'n' Roll," Bob Dylan's "Forever Young,"
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Alice Hoffman for magical realism and redemption, Alexandre Dumas and Rafael Sabatini for adventure, Dorothy L. Sayers and Josephine Tey for elegant detection, Oscar Wilde for wit, comedy, and pathos, Poe and H.P. Lovecraft for horror. John Dunne, T. S. Eliot, and Elinor Wylie for poetry.
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Mark Helprin's "A Winter's Tale," Margaret Atwood's "A Handmaid's Tale," J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy (my college creative writing teacher had babysat his children at Oxford), Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca," and Henry James's "A Turn of the Screw".
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Let your subconscious be your guide.
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. Reading your (series) books is like meeting again with beloved old friends.