What genre do you currently write? And is there a genre you'd like to write but haven't tried yet?
I write literary fiction/women's fiction. My first book The Shadow of A Dog I Can't Forget is short stories and poetry, my second book Squinting Over Water is short stories and I'm halfway through my third book, a novel, The Girl With Sand in Her Hair. As a writing contest Judge in numerous genres over the past decade, I've pretty much read it all from flash fiction to YA to paranormal fantasy. I wish I had the time to try them all!
Many authors use a nom de plume, and they may use one opposite to their own sex. Do you think an author's sex or sexual orientation should dictate what genre they write? Do you think an author's sex or sexual orientation should dictate what genre they write?
When I write, I think of myself as a Word Actress letting my characters perform different roles on paper. Poor Harry, my narrator in 'Cats Eyes', the opening story in Squinting Over Water, is sipping cheap champagne, watching his mother patch together the few strands of hair on Husband Number Five's head with those long, lean fingers of his childhood. I love this story and I've never been a man or had a mother with five husbands! I think the great gift we all have as storytellers is creating fictional worlds our readers can relate to. Imagination is a wonderful thing.
Some authors have issues with character development, writer's block, plot summary etc. What is the biggest challenge you face when writing? How do you overcome the problem?
I am a turtle writer. I know that sounds silly but it takes me a long time to finish a book. I tend to write in fragments and then at some point I connect the dots of the fragments to create the story. Participating in NaNoWriMo for the past five years has helped me finish my books. Instead of focusing on beautiful phrasing, which I can come back to later, I just write one sentence, then another, then another. The 30 day deadline is a great kick in the pants!
What has been the single most successful marketing tool you've used to date?
This is going to sound CRAZY but a few weeks ago I put a sign on the big tree in front of my house (I live on a four lane street in San Jose, California) that read in big bold letters: ASKMEABOUTMYBOOKS. I included my email and sold about 50 books because of that.
What are you currently reading?
I can't afford to travel so I buy or exchange with a friend European design and travel magazines. They're my escape. I've been reading off and on ANGEL FACE - The True Story of Student Killer AMANDA KNOX. I realize as I'm typing this the author is calling her the KILLER. Yikes. It's riveting reading and we know she's been cleared but now the Italian government wants to retry her. There are a lot of holes in the story. It's got me thinking of creating a character like Amanda Knox who can never really shake something she was accused of as a young adult. That has to shape a person in a really unusual way.
How do you measure success?
I LOVE what I do. It's creative. It's fun. It makes this great big world we live in my story idea wonderland! I'm never bored. How many people can say that?
JUST FOR FUN -
What is your favorite drink?
I live in California and we have amazing wines here. Give me a big, oaky Chardonnay in a pretty glass and I'm yours. It was almost 90 degrees here today, so right now I would LOVE a mobile Margarita truck to pull up in front of my house, beep the horn, and out I'd run to get my icy cold drink!
Are you a cat or dog person?
For me, it's dogs. I breed Golden Retrievers so my four babies - Sabrina, JoJo, Oliver & Jack Tru are my heart loves.
Love or lust?
I need both...
If you could spend the day with any famous author who would it be and why?
I thought about this question a lot. My first answer changed to this - now I would want to interview Amanda Knox, who spent one thousand four hundred nights in an Italian prison accused of murdering her roommate Meredith Kercher and who has a book coming out. It is a cautionary tale about our youth going abroad to study in countries where the law can be very different from our own and about the twisted power of Social Media to put information out there in cyberspace by anybody and how that unfiltered, unregulated information can be used against you. I would ask Amanda four questions: What really happened the night Meredith Kercher was murdered? If she were alive today, would you still be friends? What was your worst moment in prison and who are you now, Amanda? This real story is a brilliant character study about a sudden situation, a tragic ending and the complicated aftermath of the many versions of the story being told. We may never know the truth.
If you could indulge free of any consequences, what would be your ultimate sexual fantasy?
I'm playful and fun sexually and I like surprises. I'm not about control at all in most areas of my life. Sexually I actually enjoy being the leader. I know my body well, so why not? There's a knife throwing scene in the 90's french film Girl Under The Bridge starring a very young Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Depp's ex. There is no sex in the scene but it is one of the most erotic moments captured on film. I realize I haven't actually ANSWERED this question. It would be a private plane, my fantasy boy piloting (he's a free skier and is ADORABLE and of course much younger! ) I would straddle him, unzip his pants and hope we both survive to tell the story!
Thank you soooo much Blak for having me. I loved your questions....
Squinting Over Water - Stories
There are no perfect people here. These characters are you and me trying to make sense of things - good and bad - coming up with a Plan B when life gets messy. One early reader said she would walk across continents to get to this book. These whimsical stories transformed her, made her believe once again in the true beauty and playfulness of life.
ONE STRONG GIRL
Her name was Molly before she changed it to Pim. She grew up in Paris Valley, California, a builder's dirty trick, an optical illusion to lure people. Quiet people like her parents, into the desert. When asked to describe her childhood, she said it was like riding a bicycle through sand.
On Ash Wednesday, a day of cold rain, she was expelled from sixth grade for pretending to be the priest. Aretha May Albert's parents said Molly or Pim, pressed cigarette ashes into their daughter's dainty forehead. It was true. Sister Mary Louise Bartholomew Annunciata, whose penmanship was perfect, like an angel's, wrote this in her file: Molly Granger has too much original sin.
Home schooled, she longed to visit places different from Paris Valley, places with more water than land, She was, after all, a Scorpio. Molly dreamed of Venice. The Isle of Man. Belize. The beaches and swimming pools of L.A. These werethe places she would one day see.
No one in Paris Valley was surprised when she decided to become an actress. On the bus out of town, she gave the mayor, who also ran a successful waste management company, the finger.
Years later, a Paris Valley neighbor, a quiet guy named Dell, swears he saw her in an HBO movie. Close to 200 pounds with blood red fingernails, she was sitting on a beach in a wedding gown, sucking the guts from a lobster's claw. The guy next to her was smiling, a giant love smile, as he watched her lips at work. 'She had the power to transform him into whatever she wanted right there on the sand,' Del said.
Dell couldn't recall how the movie ended. He fell asleep just as the sand started to bubble up like molten lava, carrying the lovers toward the surf. 'It was surreal,' Dell said 'to see the bright orange Paris Valley Payless sticker stuck to the bottom of her shoe,'
Publisher Link: www.RobertsonPublishing.com