What do you create?
I create stories wherein characters have to make hard choices when confronted with extraordinary events, in short – drama. My aim is to create well written stories that have intricate plots but also intricate characters. My problem with most of detective/mystery fiction, which I like in general, is that it tends to be formulaic in plot and character, whereas a lot of literary fiction is too slow-paced to sustain interest. I’m striving to hit the balance between the two. I also gravitate toward foreign settings, probably because I’ve lived in several countries and travelled around the world (travel is another passion of mine), and setting stories amid current events. That’s probably the journalist in me since I’m a news junkie.
Why do you create?
When I was six years old, I won a prize for “writing interesting stories.” I have no recollection of what I wrote, but obviously it can’t have been too much in first grade! In later report cards, teachers mentioned my vivid imagination, and my ability to read enabled me to skip second grade altogether. But it was a couple decades later, when I unearthed that first little certificate in piles of old stuff, I realized that the urge to write stories was something I’d been born with. It was just there. In high school, I chose journalism as my career because it would pay me to write, and it was a great choice. I loved being a reporter. But these days, having accomplished what I set out to do in journalism (namely being a foreign correspondent), I have rediscovered that writing fiction is my true passion. I actually feel a sense of joy when I write. It engages me like no other activity. When I’ve been immersed in writing and take a break, I almost feel stunned when I get up from my desk, like I’ve been away and I’m re-entering the world. It’s an odd sensation. I truly feel blessed in some way to have this gift.
What do you consume?
In the literary arena, I’m an eclectic reader but I love upmarket women’s fiction, gritty standalone crime novels and most anything set in foreign locations. Graham Greene is one of my favorite authors. These days I also consume television. I’ve never been a big TV watcher, and I confess that I’ve never watched many hit shows that have become part of the popular American zeitgeist because they simply didn’t interest me. But now there’s a surfeit of really good TV, largely because U.S. producers have finally discovered what the British have been doing for decades – serialized drama, which allows for deeper character and plot exploration. I find these shows far more satisfying, maybe because they’re more like televised novels.