How long have you been writing?
I started writing short stories and poetry in the fifth grade. Our school had a literary contest and I won a few of the awards over the years. In the eighth grade my language arts teacher, Mrs. Cochrane, formed a novel writing club and it was there that I started my first book – a fantasy adventure that never quite finished and is lying in a box in the attic. (To my husband’s consternation, I’m a pack rat)
Did you always want to be a writer?
I never set out to be a writer; I just knew that I liked to write. My goal was to finish a book, and if it was a book someone wanted to read – that was all the better!
Is SHOOTING KABUL based on a real story?
The idea for SHOOTING KABUL came to me after I heard details of my husband’s escape from Afghanistan with his family, in the late 1970’s (and no, he didn’t have a younger sister that they accidently left behind!) They had an amazing journey that had them fleeing Soviet forces which were after my husband's father because he was an intellectual and a professor at Kabul University. Some of the elements of the story are similar to my husbands, but overall it is a work of fiction.
Where do you get your ideas?
My friends have always told me that I’m a repository of random, useless information. It’s just that I like knowing about different things – photography, geology, dissecting sharks (I wanted to be a marine biologist at one point), vampires, world history, secret societies, impressionist painters, psychology, Amazon rainforest, baking (I still want to be a pastry chef), space & time, animal evolution, the stock market, ancient Egypt, aliens, religion, extra sensory perception, politics, poisons, scuba diving... I’ve been known to watch documentaries on odd things (open heart surgery, oceanic research and organic farming). Somehow most of these things float around in my head and perculate over the years. Then something goes “Karplonk” and I know I want to write a book about some of these ideas meshed together.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It all depends on how much research is involved with the book. I had already writting a long synopsis outlining the book, so SHOOTING KABUL took five months, with my critique group's tremendous support and help.
How long did it take you to get published?
Once I finished writing SHOOTING KABUL, I sent it to my fabulous agent, Michael Bourret who read it and suggested some edits. After completing those changes in about a week, Michael submitted the novel to a group of editors. We were lucky to get a deal within three weeks after interest by multiple publishing houses. We chose to work with the clever and insightful Alexandra Penfold at Simon & Schuster. By the time SHOOTING KABUL goes through edits, copy edits, gets a cover and goes through printing, it will be another ten months for the book to hit the shelves, in the summer of 2010.
What are some books that influenced you?
Gosh, too many to list, but here’s the tip of the iceberg:
Who did the cool art on your website?
The artwork was done by Penny Hauffe, my dear friend from boarding school. She was our class valedictorian and studied philosophy and psychology at Oxford University. Her true love was art, so she went on to the Gemini School of Illustration, UK, and apprenticed to Roger Barcilon. Penny then opened her own teaching and painting studio in Leesburg, VA, USA, in 1997, where she creates fine art, portraiture, graphic design and murals for local, national and international clients. You can find her at www.pennypaint.com and see some of her artwork.