FAQs

Bio | FAQs | Interviews with Me | Habitat for Humanity & Me

How did you start writing?
I’ve always been a writer, but fiction eluded me. It wasn’t until I became a real estate agent that I knew I wanted to create a smart and savvy sleuth who was also a Realtor, solving crimes and making deals. I started working on A HOUSE TO DIE FOR whenever I could find the time, and two years later I’d written my first novel.

Where do you get your ideas?
I get ideas from the newspaper, from other Realtors, and from my own experience. Lots of times I hear things and I think, “What if? What if Darby had to sell an expensive property and the buyer was found dead in the garden shed?”

Do you ever base your characters on real people?
Real people that I have met or heard about can inspire a character, but no one in my books is real. It’s too much fun to think up all the details myself!

Why did you choose the mystery genre?
Actually, the mystery genre chose me! I have always loved to read mysteries, everything from Agatha Christie to Sue Grafton. I like menacing mysteries, with a lot of suspense, and that’s the kinds of books I’m trying to write. I like to be on the edge of my seat as a reader, and I hope I do that in my novels.

Who reads what you have written before you send it to your editor?
My husband reads all of my manuscripts, and he is an excellent resource. He’s a lawyer so he’s very detail oriented and he can spot any inconsistencies, like calling a character O’Malley and then switching to O’Riley! My friend Lynda Chilton also reads my manuscripts early on, because she has a great sense of what Darby would and would not do. She’ll spot little things that might be out of character.

What’s the hardest part of writing a book?
The middle part of the book is the hardest for me. But I have a quote on my desk from Tess Gerritsen that says “Don’t give up! Finish the book. Write all the way to the end.” Her words admonish me to keep on plugging away.

How do you find time to write the books and practice real estate?
I’m a firm believer that you have to MAKE time for the things you want to do — you’ll never “find” the time. I look at my schedule for the week and if I have any windows, I plug in writing time. I’m lucky in that I trained myself early on to sit down, focus, and write. I don’t wait for the “muse” — I use whatever time I have. Even if I’m incredibly busy, I can think about my story, and work out characters or plots while I’m driving to appointments. Fortunately I have deadlines I have to meet — contracts with my publisher for a book a year — so that motivates me to stay on track.

Which writers have influenced you the most?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie were big influences early on. Tess is a friend who has been a real inspiration for me, as have many of the writers I’ve met going to mystery conferences and through organizations like Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Do you ever visit book clubs?
Yes, if they are nearby. If not, I can participate via Skype or telephone. I love book clubs and have been in mine (The Mount Battie Book Club) for years and years!

Do you belong to any mystery groups?
I’m a member of Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. I serve on the Board of Directors of the New England branch of Sisters, and it is a great group.

What are you passionate about?
With my writing, I’m passionate about creating an escape for my readers. I want my books to make you forget the piles of laundry, the soccer game, and that annoying person at work. I’m also passionate about family, nature, and giving back the community I live in.

Have any of your books been made into movies?
Not yet! But you’ll be the first to know!



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