What writing clubs or organizations do you belong to?
The Authors Guild, and the National Women’s Book Association.
What were your favorite books as a child?
Tom Sawyer which my parents took turns reading to me, chapter by chapter. The Nancy Drew books when I was a little older and the The Lord of the Rings Trilogy when I was in high school.
What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in-between?)
I’m pretty organic as a writer. I think much more like a painter starting with a blank canvas. I don’t really outline but as a story takes shape I have a sense of where it’s going. Sometimes I know the ending long before I arrive so then I have a sense of what I am writing myself toward.
Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?
Absolutely. They make me laugh and cry unexpectedly. It’s quite an adventure.
What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
Praying for Strangers, a non-fiction work based on a resolution I had will be published by Penguin in spring of 2011. I have three other novels in early development. Now I have to just choose which one to commit to and complete it.
Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?
I’d have to say from the beginning my mother because she passed on to me such a wonderful love of books and reading. She read to me a lot as a child. I think that is so greatly important for children whether they grow up to be writers or not.
What message would you like your readers to take from The Miracle of Mercy Land?
That every person’s story matters greatly and that all of our stories are ultimately connected.
What is your greatest achievement?
Being a very, cool Zaza (my grandmother name to the adorable—my grandchildren), getting older with a kind of grace that appreciates little things and golden moments.
What is your goal or mission as a writer?
To celebrate story in all it’s glory. I hope to have respected the great writers and traditions of the past while still telling stories in newly, original ways. To help people connect to the meaningful quiet places in their souls and with each other. I hope they walk away with a richer life after turning the last page.
What do you do to get away from it all?
I either go for a drive where my mind works in a different kind of way or I go to the movies where I lose myself in a story that I’m not responsible for writing
Is there any additional information that you’d like your readers to know?
For them to know that their personal real-life story is just as important, no, more important, than all than all those of characters on the written page throughout all time.