Do you have a favorite heroine? Hero? Book of your heart?
It’s hard to pick a favorite. I am most proud of the character of Allegreto, I think.
Did you feel any differently about your writing after winning your RITAs or hitting NYT-bestselling status? I’m not talking about immediately after being up on stage, but when you faced the blank page weeks or months later. Did it arm you against the insecurity I’m told every writer must face?
Nothing arms a writer against the insecurity they must face. If you can’t live with insecurity, don’t let anyone read what you write. There is much about being a writer that parallels the human condition as a whole. Nobody gets out alive.
So by all accounts you were at the pinnacle of your career and managed a grueling writing schedule. Then you disappeared for almost six years. What was the reason behind that decision?
To many writers, finishing a book a year would not be grueling at all, it would be a leisurely pace. Writing is a completely individual activity, one of the most individual I know about–every writer has their own way of doing things. So my experience is just my experience. When I write, it feels like a pitcher of water: I pour it out, and it just takes a certain amount of time to fill back up again. During that filling time, I could sit there at the computer all day and not think of anything to write–or delete anything I did write.
What I’ve found is that if I do force myself to write when the pitcher is empty, I go down blind alleys that just get harder and harder to push ahead. Then I have to go back to where it was “working” and start over there. There will always be some “good parts” in the blind alley that I don’t want to let go of, which makes it even harder to start over. Overall not very pleasant or productive. So what seems to work best for me is not to force myself to turn out pages on a schedule, but to keep the book and characters in my mind, to read other books, and listen for that little bell to ring that gives me a sentence or a scene I can start with and keep going.
Let me emphasize again that this is totally individual and not meant to be advice in any sense at all. It’s just the way I’ve ended up working myself. I don’t think of my writing pace as “dry spells” or “block.” At this point it’s just my pace.