Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born and raised in Iowa, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. In addition to housing the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Iowa City is one of only seven places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Resthaven centers around a pack of kids who decide to have a scavenger hunt inside an abandoned retirement home, only to discover they’re not the only ones roaming the hallways. I wanted to write something my teenage daughters would enjoy, and I’ve always been intrigued by old, creepy buildings.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Mountain Dew, a dark room, and loud music are a necessity. Outside of that, inspiration is always welcome, but not always present…
What authors, or books have influenced you?
One of my all-time favorite books is Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. I’ve often thought about trying my hand at literary fiction, but I’m probably not talented enough to pull it off. Stephen King has always been a huge influence, and I’m a big fan of Alden Bell, who wrote the brilliant novel, The Reapers Are the Angels.
What are you working on now?
I’m knee-deep into a third mystery about a father searching for his missing daughter. I’m also tweaking a short novel (written years ago) that I hope to release next year, and I’ve been outlining a sequel to my debut mystery, Mortom.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Facebook and word-of-mouth.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Writing is 10% writing and 90% rewriting. If you’re not prepared to live with your story for years, then a life of writing probably isn’t a good fit. And if you are fortunate enough to get your work into print, be prepared to spend endless hours promoting it. I’ve done everything from hang flyers to advertise on craigslist. Being a writer is a labor of love, and you have to work hard to make your own luck.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Raise the stakes and continue to build them.” If you don’t put your characters in peril, why should your readers care what happens to them?
What are you reading now?
I’m just getting ready to start Follow the Dotted Line, by Nancy Hersage.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Continue to build my fan base and try to make each book better than the last!
What is your favorite book of all time?
I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson.