Cease & Desist Author Interview
Hello and thank you for little me interview you today.
- It's great to be here. I'm so happy to share with you today.
Was writing your first love?
- No. I was told by some early teachers that I'd never be any good on the page. Reading was my first love. And, as any good writing teacher will tell you, great readers can become great writers. It was only until I moved to NYC and studied with two influential teachers that I was told I had talent.
Where do you like to write?
- I teach and have only a few hours every day to focus on my writing. I get up early. Usually no later than 5:30am, and write. When I get a few days break I like to travel to remote, tranquil places along the California coast and stay overnight. There's a monastery south of Big Sur that is my favorite place to begin a story.
Is writing everything you thought it would be?
- Yes. Mostly because I never entered this profession with the starry-eyed dream of creating a bestseller. My debut novel, Cease & Desist features characters who've been horribly abused, and for anyone who knows my personal life, that's pretty accurate. I don't consider writing a gift, but a compulsion, a place where I can deal with all the personal demons I just can't talk about "in real life."
Who is/was your favourite character to write about?
- Troubled teens are my favorite characters. I want them to understand they are not alone, and that writing can help them through just about any problem.
How do you form your story ideas?
- I cast a wide net. That means, although I write contemporary fiction, I look for exciting ways to get people interested by choosing paranormal plot twists, such as having a reality drama TV show that gets horribly out of control. Or having a character find out that she is in real life related to a character she's supposed to "play."
Do you keep notes during the day, in case something inspires you or, if you had a lively conversation and thought Hey that would be great in a book?
- I used to keep notes and try outlines but I usually throw most of it away if it conflicts with the plot that comes to me when I really get into character. I was a professional actor in NYC for nine years and most of my character training comes from the stagework I've done, not from books on how to write fiction. Yes, I listen to dialogue a lot during the day, because certain words, and phrases really help me nail a character's voice.
What was the last book you read, did it live up to your expectations?
- Gone Girl was great. Mostly because I love unreliable characters. My protagonist, Cease de Menich lies a lot and without giving anything away, she confesses in the end.
Do you like warm or cold day?
- I spent years in New England at high school and college, (Deerfield, Tufts) where we got real winter weather. I prefer the warm days of California.
Tea, coffee, or rum? (or preferred drink, I’m a wine person myself but I do love a good latté)
- I drink coffee and tea during the day. I had to quit alcohol as it just didn't help the writing process.
Halloween is coming up, do you like scary stories?
- The first story that really got under my skin was Conrad Aiken's "Silent Snow. Secret Snow"--speaking of unreliable narrators, this story scared me more than all the horror films friends would drag me to. Both he and his daughter, Joan were legendary in my opinion.
Do you write in one sitting or in bursts?
- My stories evolve so slowly, but I do write compulsively (see above for reason why). I revised the first ten pages of my novel's part II ("Desist") forty times over a two year period until I was told by the editor I'd finally nailed the voice of Cease.