I also belong to three chapters of SinC--The Los Angeles Chapter, the San Joaquin Chapter (the one I attend the most), and the Central Coast Chapter (the one I do the most events with.)
We were given some questions to answer and I've chose a few, so here goes:
Which authors have inspired you?
In the beginning, Mary Higgins Clark, not just her mysteries, but herself as a person. I met her years ago at a small mystery conference at a rather campy retreat. She was gracious, helpful and friendly. Still a long time ago, but with many years in-between, I met her again at the agents and editors cocktail party during an Edgar week. When I reintroduced myself, she acted like she remembered me. Like an old friends, she brought me up to date on what she'd been doing and introduced me to her, at the time, brand new husband.
Many other female mystery writers have also inspired me like Jan Burke, and many not so famous but terrific writers who have become my friends such as Sue McGinty, Lorna Collins, Victoria Heckman, and oh so many others. Many of them I met at cons and conventions, others through Oak Tree Press--the publisher of my Rocky Bluff P.D. mysteries.
One of my favorite male writers is William Kent Krueger. Met him several times at the now defunct Mayhem in the Midlands conference. I've watched him gather many awards over the years for his outstanding books, but despite his great success, he's remained a friend.
If someone said, "Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men," how would you respond?
I'd probably say, "You should try some women writers, you might be surprised." And then I'd suggest some I know along with their books.
What's the best part of the writing process for you? And what's the most challenging?
I write two series, and I love starting a new book and knowing I'm going to find out what's happening with these characters I've grown to love and care about over the years. If I don't write that next book, I won't know what's going on in their lives.
The most challenging is taking time away from the writing to do the necessary promotion.
If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?
Over the years, I've mentored quite a few new writers. One of the big things is letting the person know that they will probably not become an instant success or make a lot of money. Other advice I've given, is read the kind of books you want to write. Don't spend time telling everyone about the book, put your energies into writing it. Be sure you get it edited by someone who knows about mysteries and editing before you sent it off anywhere.