New York Times  Bestselling Author

Archive for January 2009

Crying in my Coffee

Good crying, though. I hung out at the Opium Den (aka Starbucks) yesterday morning, working on the discussion questions for Secrets She Left Behind. That meant I had to skim through the entire 500+ pages of the manuscript to get back in touch with the story. I was moving through it pretty quickly until I…

Read More

Death by Bus

I’ve received a few anxious emails about my outline process from several writers who are at work on their first novels.  They’re afraid an outline will suck the joy out of writing. They’re afraid it will somehow lock them in. They ask, “Doesn’t it kill your creativity to know what’s going to happen?” The answer is no, not even…

Read More

Leon and the Muse

I’ve been a Leon Russell fan forever. I’ve hung in there with him through his rock days, his blues days, his gospel days, and–with some angst–his country days. I always like an artist, whether it be a musician, a novelist, a screenwriter, a photographer–who’s not afraid to stretch and try new things, even if he…

Read More

Notes from Norfolk

I’m in Norfolk, Virginia for the weekend for a booksigning at a Barnes and Noble and a visit with my stepdaughter, Alana, and son-in-law, Matt. Here’s a picture of me with Heidi Luong, the very first reader to arrive at the signing. Heidi only started reading my books a few months ago, but she’s dedicated! She…

Read More

Outline Finished. . . For Now

      Wow, these cool new post it index cards sure do make my outlines neater! Kind of boring, compared to my old cut and paste method (see a picture of me with one of my old outlines on my gallery page). I have to say, this method is far more manageable! So I’m now ready…

Read More

Oh Happy Day

I planned to work today, but I couldn’t tear myself away from the TV (from which John made this pic). From the celebratory inaugural concert Sunday, to the rare North Carolina snowstorm outside our windows, to Aretha’s singing of America the Beautiful, to the quiet, moving transition of power, to Obama’s inspirational speech and–most emotional for me–to the…

Read More

"Your Characters are Too Nice"

I usually let John read outlines of my stories while I’m working on them, and he always has the same comment: “Your characters are too nice.” And I always smile sweetly and respond, “Yup. That’s the way I like ’em.” I don’t believe people are inherently good or evil. Some people are sociopaths. Some have,…

Read More

It's Up to the Writer

This week, I met with a local bookclub during their discussion of one of my books–something I try to do whenever I’m invited and my schedule permits. This particular group had read The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and during the discussion, we got around to the topic of believability. Do the events of the story ring true or…

Read More

Structure

Tomorrow I begin the outline for my current, as yet untitled, WIP (Work in Progress). I’m excited and nervous. Excited because I’m embarking on a new story with new characters, and nervous for the same reason. When you have the unknown stretched out in front of you–along with a deadline that’s mere months away (August)–it…

Read More

Feelings. . .

This post will be of most interest to you new fiction writers out there. I’ve been revising my current synopsis for the past week, and today I did the part I love most: I wrote my “feelings essays.” As of this morning, the synopsis was in great shape. All the action was there and the characters’…

Read More