Published in the Sunday Times
What was the first novel you read?
Nancy Drew – The Sign of the Twisted Candles.
What keeps you awake at night?
When a family member is ill.
Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights.
Has a book ever changed your mind about something?
Reading suspense from the time I was young helped change my mind from writing an historical background to writing suspense.
Whose sentences are your favourite, and why?
“You’ll not shut me out of my bedroom tonight, my dear” – Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind – which says everything about passion without having to be explicit about it. Also, in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Mr Rochester said: “We must become one flesh without any delay, Jane”.
What novel would you give a child to introduce them to literature?
Anne of Green Gables.
What is the best piece of writerly advice you’ve received?
“Write – don’t think about writing.”
What music helps you write?
Beautiful music of the ’40s and ’50s. Note how the titles of my books go back there.
What is the last thing that you read that made you laugh out loud?
The one that made me laugh loudest was a long ago rejection by Cosmopolitan – “Your stories are light, slight and trite”. I showed them!
What is the strangest thing you’ve done when researching a book?
Sitting in a courthouse during a murder trial and watching as the defendant was snapping his thumbs under the table as the prosecutor was telling how he strangled a bride and a bride-to-be.
- The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark, Alafair Burke
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Image: Simon & Schuster