A. Daily metropolitan newspaper reporter/feature writer and first woman member of the newspaper's Opinion Pages and Editorial Board.
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.
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.
A. "The Wizard of Oz."
A. Classic: "The Rockford Files" and "Remington Steele." Current: "Castle" and "Fringe."
A. Literary Chameleon: Have Creativity, Will Travel
A. If you're not busy being born, you're busy dying, to paraphrase Bob Dylan
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.
A. Not getting it all written down before I exit.
A. After writing and cats, my favorite thing is water, so I'd be on a tropical beach listening to Jimmy Buffet.
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).
A. Bob Dylan, the raw and poetic voice of a cultural awakening and master of reinvention.
A. I'm always editing out "evens."
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.
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.
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.
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.
A. I talk with my hands.
A. Jo AND Amy from "Little Women," D'Artangan from "The Three Musketeers."
A. Bram Stoker's Dracula, fangs down.
A. Queen Elizabeth I, and I'd ask her who wrote Shakespeare's plays. She didn't miss a thing.
A. People who know enough to act professionally , and don't.
A. Dancing class.
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.
A. Honesty, honesty, honesty.
A. Those white chocolate peanut butter cups. Peanut butter is a protein and a "good" fat. The white chocolate is gravy.
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,"
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.
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".
A. Let your subconscious be your guide.
A. Reading your (series) books is like meeting again with beloved old friends.