A rather conventional woman who, when someone tries to kill her, discovers everything she believed about her life is a lie.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I visited a fascinating Christmas shop in Rotenberg, Germany. It was absolutely magical. The images stayed with me for years, and one day when I was wondering what it would be like to create such a shop, Claire Spencer walked into my head. She became the main character.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
More of what I’d like to be than what I am. Claire is more determined and, even though she may be afraid, she does what she believes is necessary.
Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?
It has to be Jelly—Jelly Biggs, a bad guy in my WIP. He’s an ex prize fighter who took a few too many blows to the head, leaving him a little punchy. “Jelly’s thoughts might tumble around like lottery balls in a bin, but the former heavyweight could still float like a butterfly.”
How long did it take you to write your book?
Cold Comfort took about a year to write and five more to revise till I felt it was right. The first one, Haunting Refrain, took eight years to complete. I’m getting better.
How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?
The characters and the crime, but I’m trying to morph from a pantser into more of a plotter. I think it will make the writing go faster and keep the storyline tighter.
Does writing come easy for you?
Getting into the story is often hard, but once I’m there, it flows. If I can tap into my subconscious and let it take over, the initial writing is easy. Revising and making it all come together is much more difficult but also more rewarding. I like that part.
How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?
Four main ones and a couple of others that keep popping up. It’s mostly the characters that draw me. I really want to write them all.
What do you like to read?
Suspense and crime fiction.
Have you written any other books?
Yes, two other novels, Haunting Refrain and The Peeper (with Jim Christopher), and some short stories.
Where do you get the names for your characters?
I look up ethnic names and meanings, such as Sicilian family names for a mob boss or Irish names for a hero. I also consider whether the sound of the name conveys what I want from the character. I try to avoid having similar-sounding names in the same book.