When I was thirty I had an idea for a story. It became a strange process since I never considered writing a novel before. I was an avid reader and held authors in high esteem. When I started writing that first story, it was like the floodgates had opened. One of the most inspirational books I’ve read is Kitchen Privileges by Mary Higgins Clark. I’ve long been a mystery fan and when I read this memoir, I realized that it was possible to be a writer and a mother at the same time. Ms. Clark inspired me when she said she’d write from 5:00-7:00 a.m. every morning so as not to interfere with her job and her kids (she was a widow at the time). I thought, “I can do that.” And I did—it took three novels before I finally got one published, but Clark’s story inspired me not to give up.
2. What writing project are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I’m currently editing the next Omar Zagouri thriller that I’m calling SLAVE QUEEN. This book is a mixture of modern-day and historical setting based on the story of the sultan Suleyman and his favorite wife, Roxelane. She was living in the Kingdom of Poland in the early 1500s when she was abducted by the Turks and brought to the sultan’s harem in Constantinople. There she worked her way up through the harem to become a wife of the sultan. I’m also drafting the 3rd book in The Moses Chronicles series.
3. How important are the names in your novels? How do you choose names for your characters? Do you have any name resources you would suggest?
I write a lot of historical fiction, so I try to use as many real names as possible. The other names I choose, I try to use names that aren’t super common, but names that aren’t too strange sounding. I want them unique, but pronounceable. I also try to make sure I don’t have more than one name starting with the same letter or sounding too similar, if at all possible. I just google names such as “female Turkish names” then scan through the list.
4. What authors inspire your writing?
Some of my favorite authors include Mary Higgins Clark, Maeve Binchy, Barbara Kingsolver, and Michelle Moran. They have interesting life stories and write in different genres.
5. What period of history interests you the most? Does this influence your writing?
I’m drawn to historical events that change the course of history. For instance, my book LOST KING that comes out in December is about Hatshepsut, a woman who became Pharaoh of Egypt. And the current book I’m working on follows a woman who rises from slavery to become a sultan’s wife.
6. What inspired the idea for your story in the Mariposa Hotel novel?
When Julie, Melanie, and I brainstormed our plots, I wanted my heroine to be employed at the hotel in a management type position so that she was facing a lot of conflict each day. And then of course the hero had to be someone who would help her deal with the conflict. He needed a reason to be at the posh resort, so I made him a talented and wealthy man, but his work had dominated his life so he hadn’t allowed himself to carry on a serious relationship. But as I started writing, it all flip-flopped and the heroine became the woman to the rescue.
7. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character?
I have nothing. I’m so behind on movies and TV that I’d probably name someone who is dead. LOL.
8. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I love to read and traveling is fun when possible. I love nature walks and doing puzzles.