1.Which of the characters in LUCKY SOUTHERN WOMEN resembles you most?
There are elements of myself in both Phoebe and Sophie. Like Sophie, I'm a writer but I'm definitely not the crafty daredevil she is. Phoebe's thoughtful level-headedness is really more like me. At least I hope it is! When I was younger I was a little afraid to be alone, like Sophie, and I tended to think I needed a man around. But as I've grown older and hopefully wiser, again it's Phoebe's independence that is definitely more like me. Give me a book and a cup of tea (or nice glass of wine) and I'm perfectly content to spend a weekend at home, all by myself!
2.If you were to choose the ideal reader, what would you imagine him to be?
Anyone who likes a good story and can put aside his or her everyday thoughts and opinions to allow the story to unfold without judgment.
3. For whom do you write? I definitely write because there's a story inside – but in the case of Lucky Southern Women, I was hopeful that the story would give some hope to women in abusive relationships.
4. You a creative person many talents. Is writing the most important of them? Why? If I don't write, I can't think. It helps me to process things. In addition, I can return to what I wrote even years earlier, and remember what I knew then – be it a lesson or some hard-won knowledge that I'd forgotten.
5.Does your training in classical dance influence your writing? How? Dancers must concentrate and focus in order to execute movement and not fall down or lose their balance and run into someone. I learned to concentrate and tune out distractions in dance class, and this is definitely helpful when crafting a story.
6. You grew up speaking French. Does being bilingual affect your southern voice? Maybe? My father was insistent that we learn French – or at least one second language. He believed it was more important to speak correctly than to write or read a language, because speaking is our primary way of communicating. You could get into serious trouble if someone didn't understand what you say. So we would repeat, repeat, listen and repeat until it was exactly like the native speakers on the recordings we had. We listened to every nuance and inflection in the native's voice and Papa wasn't satisfied until it was echoed perfectly. I think because of that I became a bit of a social chameleon. I tend to speak exactly the way the person I'm speaking with talks. When I was in Chicago studying dance, and came home for holidays, my friends laughed at my “northern” accent. When I spoke to my mother on the phone, my friends in college tended to mimic my speech that sounded like hers. My children can always tell when I've been talking to someone from the Carolinas. So yes, in the sense that I listen and mimic, I think being bilingual has affected my southern voice a great deal.
7.What would ask your favorite writer during an interview? How do you begin? How do you know when it's done?
8. If you could only write one paragraph, what would it say? Be good to one another. Life isn't practice.
9.How important is commercial success? It isn't.
10. What would like to add to these questions? Why am I writing a sequel? The characters literally kept talking in my head and it was months after I believed I'd finished. So I had to listen and write it down. However, the sequel is written differently than the first novel. It is entirely in third person, and there are some rather serious and controversial issues that arise in the story. We find out things about Phoebe we probably didn't suspect. Other characters also reveal interesting secrets. It's a bit darker, but in my opinion much more riveting than the first book, and hopefully a bit easier to follow without the different points-of-view and changing styles with the journals, first person narrative, and flashbacks.