Way back when I first learned C-A-T spelled a word. Writing’s magic ability to world build has grown in me since then and shows no sign of stopping. I consider that great good luck!
Jane Eyre with its indomitable heroine and moody masochistic Mr. Rochester had a profound influence on me in my teens. The fact that Jane was a feminist and resisted Rochester’s attempt to make her his mistress escaped me on first youthful reading. A good reason to revisit old favorites.
By analyzing fairy tales in The Uses of Enchantment, Bruno Bettelheim provided me with multiple examples of how symbol and theme can hide within the most basic of stories. Enchantment was both a revelation and an education in how to pack meaning into plot and characters without ever letting the effort be obvious.
For sheer fun, I’m hooked on Nelson DeMille’s sassy character John Corey. His wit and humor makes DeMille one of my all-time favorites. I even got to shake his hand at a reading festival last year. What a thrill!
Can you give us some details about your upcoming release?
Yes and yes! I am currently writing a contemporary murder mystery series and having a ball with my amateur sleuth, Deva Dunne. A young widow, she needs a change of scene and moves to sunny Florida. In Killer Kitchens, the latest book in the series, her interior design business is thriving; she’s even snagged her first commercial design project, the La Cucina Restaurant. Then disaster strikes, and the kitchen explodes. As Deva says, “Just because the restaurant had Dynamite Shrimp on the menu is that any reason for the place to blow up?”
When you are not writing, what are your hobbies, passions, etc?
When I’m not writing, I really am writing. Oh not with pen in hand or fingers on the mouse, but in my mind. The characters, once released, refuse to go away. So during
3 a.m. insomnia breaks, or while on the exercise bike, or out driving around town, I find Deva and Rossi and the killer all reappear. And that’s great, that’s what keeps the plot moving forward.
What historical person would you want to meet and why?
Elizabeth I of England. What a charismatic, brilliant old girl she was. Walking through that minefield of intrigue and power grabbing that was the Tudor court of her day and not just surviving but prevailing. She must have been both fascinating and impossible.
Share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.
Three fun facts? Oh my gosh.
- Well, I’d love to stretch out on top of a piano and belt out a torch song.
- I met my husband on a street car.
- Just as Australia has elected a woman prime minister, I’d like to see a woman elected president of the USA.
Interior designer Deva Dunne just may have hit the jackpot. Sure, her new client, Francesco Grandese, talks tough and has strange business connections, but he has the eye of a connoisseur, and a huge, empty mansion he wants her to decorate.
Deva’s boyfriend, police lieutenant Victor Rossi, has misgivings about her promising job—especially when he accompanies her to one of Francesco’s dinner parties. After Francesco returns a dish to the kitchen untasted, the chauffeur promptly scarfs it down and drops dead from cyanide poisoning.
Has the killer made a terrible mistake and murdered the wrong person? Or was the dead man the intended victim? The only thing Deva knows for certain is someone present that night committed murder. And it seems everyone—from the dinner guests to the kitchen help—has a motive.