Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have written five novels. For of them are paranormal mysteries and the latest is a cozy mystery. I am also an actress and a visual artist. I live in Long Beach, California. The settings for my novels are an important element to the stories. For example, my first novel A Blue Moon takes places in the west side of Los Angeles–Venice, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. The bizarre culture of Venice Beach influences how the characters behave. The vampire mystery trilogy Horror At The Lake takes place in a mountain community where the plot is complicated by the dense forest and foggy weather the characters endure.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The name of my latest book is A Palette For Murder. It takes place in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I lived for several years, and the west side of Los Angeles. Santa Fe has a thriving art scene and while I was living there I exhibited my paintings and met many local artists. I wanted to write a mystery that involved art and the scenery of Santa Fe. A Palette For Murder is the first Lana Davis mystery. I am now working on another novel in this series and like the first novel, this also takes place in Santa Fe.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Well, I wish I could write in cafes or coffee houses, the way Ernest Hemingway did, because writing can be a lonely business, but I need absolute quiet when I’m writing on a computer. However much of my writing goes on in my head before I sit down at the keyboard. So I guess the unusual habit I have is listening. I like going to happy hours in bars, not because I drink–I rarely do–but because I like listening to conversations. I get a lot of my ideas for stories from conversations I overhear, and from seeing how people react to them. But all my work is fiction. I never write about the people I have actually met.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Of course, reading novels of the classic mystery authors Agatha Christie, Patrica Wentworth (considered the American Agatha Christie) John Dickson Carr, Earl Derr Biggers (Charlie Chan mysteries) and Stuart Palmer influenced the way I approach a story. I’ve also read the hard-boiled fiction of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, Ross McDonald, Helen McGuinness and Dorothy B. Hughes. And also other writers such as Jerzy Kosinski, Carlos Castaneda, Cornell Woolrich, Patricia Highsmith, and Darwin and Hildegarde Teilhet. I found Teilhets’ books, which they sometimes wrote together, in a used bookshop. I had never heard of them before but they were popular in the 1930s-1940s.
What are you working on now?
I am working on the second Lana Davis Mystery, tentatively titled A Date For Murder. In this story, Lana is back in Santa Fe with a new mystery to solve.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I like to use as many social media sites as I can, including my website, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and my blog.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I would have to say talk less and listen more.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Whether you succeed or not, think of your creativity as a gift and how honored you are to receive it.
What are you reading now?
Ladle to the Grave by Connie Archer. After I finish this I’m going to read Grave On Grand Avenue by Naomi Hirahara.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’d like to write a screenplay after I finish writing A Date For Murder.
What is your favorite book of all time?
I’d have to say Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I read it four times when I was a kid. I still can’t forgive the author for not having Jo marry Laurie.