What Genre do you write?
I began as a playwright. My most successful play is a drama, which was done by the Kennedy Center. And I wrote both historical dramas and a thriller for TV. But I have also written dozens of comedy musicals for the stage, a genre in which I love working. My mystery novel, Follow the Dotted Line, in a quirky comedy in the tradition of Stephanie Plum, only the heroine is over 50 and has four grown chlldren.
What brought you to writing cozy mysteries?
I love mysteries. I wanted to write an autobiography to tell some of the outrageous stories in my family. I didn’t know that genre, but I found a way to write a really quirky, satirical mystery story using a great amount of true-life material.
Who is your favorite character when you write a book?
In this book, I love to hate the teenager, Harley Davidson. He’s outrageously naïve, ignorant and full of hubris. The central character, his aunt, can’t stand him. She’s the book’s quasi-heroine, but in many ways she’s just as self-centered and self-absorbed. They are mirror images of one another, standing on opposite ends of the political and social spectrum. This makes for a very make a dynamic duo.
Who inspires your books? (Dead or Alive?)
Any good story inspires me to write. Any well-written good story still awes me. I love Denise Mina’s writing; great plots and terrific writing. I love the musical Once On This Island. Incredible music, wonderful writing, large and moving themes. This is exceptional writing that makes me want to scream with the pure joy of it’s artistry.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I have made my living writing for the last forty years. I don’t know how to do anything else but golf (I’m pretty good at that) and hang out with my grown kids and not-so-grown grandkids. (I have seven.) I’m also into listening to books on tape. Again, there is nothing more sublime than a well-written story well read.
Tell us three things people may not know about you?
I wrote the stage adaptations of both Ordinary People and A Separate Peace.
I sold a movie treatment to Tom Cruise.
I’m sort of an expert on Nicola Tesla.
If you were stuck on a deserted island (like Giligan’s Island) name three things you would take with you?
A set of Pings. A life-time supply of bean burritos. A cell phone, so I could argue politics, art and business with my three kids.