A. newspaper reporter, teacher, research assistant at an art museum, substitute teacher
A. My LEAST favorite job was substitute teaching. But I think everyone should do it because it teaches you to think on your feet.
A. Vanderbilt University, grad school at Texas State University
A. I think happiness is doing what you want to do, not what you have to do. And I think very few people are lucky enough to do that.
A. Heights make me dizzy, so it amazes me that I let my college roommate talk me into skydiving. I thought I would have a heart attack, and then it was one of the most exhilarating things I've ever done.
A. At the beach drinking a margarita.
A. Wow, what a downer question. I think my biggest regret that I'll share on the Internet is being offered a free (free!!) ticket to see U2 on their Joshua Tree tour. And then my mother told me I was much too young to go to a rock concert.
A. I would love to be able to play a musical instrument. And as long as this is fantasy, why not the violin? I saw a violin concert once that brought tears to my eyes.
A. I think I'm most proud of the fact that I refused to give up on my dreams (of becoming an author) even when nothing was going my way and it seemed like a futile endeavor.
A. Thankfully, nothing. I don't stand out in a crowd. I much prefer to hang back and observe people.
A. Favorite fictional hero... there are so many amazing men in fiction. Ha. But I might have to go with Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye, even though he's kind of an anti-hero.
A. Of all the villains in fiction, I might have to say Hannibal Lecter. The genius of Lecter is that Thomas Harris created a terrifying villain with a sympathetic side. Anyone who saw the movie Silence of the Lambs knows what I mean... Who wasn't rooting for Lecter to take out the psychologist at the end of the film?
A. I can't stand long-winded phone messages.
A. When I'm not writing, I love to read--newspapers, magazines, books. Actually, I have a very expensive book habit. And, maybe because I have so many author friends, I can't bring myself to buy books used, so it really adds up.
A. I would love to be in some kick-ass law enforcement job. But I guess writing about people who are is the next best thing.
A. chocolate pecan pie
A. I have favorite artists, not songs, because I love to listen to albums straight through. I love U2, Coldplay, Patty Griffin, Allison Krauss and Union Station, Dave Matthews. U2 would have to be my favorite. They're mesmerizing in concert.
A. There are so many! A sample from my bookshelves: Suzanne Brockmann, Patricia Cornwell, Jennnifer Crusie, Joan Didion, Lisa Gardner, David Guterson, (can you tell I have them alphabetized?), Tami Hoag, Larry McMurtry, J.D. Salinger, Edith Wharton.
A. The Catcher in the Rye (Salinger) Slouching Towards Bethlehem (Didion) Lonesome Dove (McMurtry) The House of Mirth (Wharton) Snow Falling on Cedars (Guterson)
A. Catcher in the Rye... and it's the one book I won't lend out because I'm very attached to my dog-eared copy.
A. Develop a thick skin and don't give up.
A. The best compliment I ever got was from a reader who said she got so hooked on my books, she read them by flashlight during a weeklong power outage after Hurricane Ike.
A. The idea for THREAD OF FEAR crept up on my while I watched a news broadcast about a child abduction in Utah. What captivated my attention most was not the kidnapping itself, but the forensic artist who helped solve the crime. For the life of me I could not imagine how the artist was able to sit down with a child (the victim's younger sister) and create a life-like portrait of the perpetrator--all based on the little girl's brief glimpse. I started researching forensic art, and the character of Fiona Glass came to life. She's a highly sensitive and intuitive person who has a knack for interviewing traumatized children and rape victims. The stories they tell her haunt her every day, but she cares too much about her work to give it up.