I wanted to be a writer from the age of four or five, but decided I couldn't do that, because I thought writers had to have “experiences,” like running with the bulls or getting into bar fights, which didn't sound like much fun. So at age 10, I decided on archaeology instead, and eventually earned my undergraduate and graduate degrees in that. I was studying human culture and that was actually good training for writing fiction, and thinking about motives for behavior tied in nicely with my interests in crime fiction.
Being confronted by a treasure hunter with a gun while I was in the field provided the impetus to start writing mysteries. It was very ironic, as that was exactly the sort of thing I was trying to avoid as a kid! So I took all those years of studying people and my experiences figuring out puzzles in the field and used them to write my six Dr. Emma Fielding mysteries.
Hmm, in mystery and crime fiction, I think Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christy, probably to start. Sayers in particular always struck me with the acuteness of her cultural observations, which are important for archaeologists and detectives both. I've already mentioned the profound effect that Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner have had on my new series, but also in my urban fantasy, I've been influenced by Andre Norton, Ursula LeGuin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Heinlein, and Poul Anderson.
It's based on the Fangborn world I developed through my short stories. I kept looking at the Fangborn through their history and it really was compelling to me. Nearly all cultures have a shape-shifting myth, so what if some of them were actually related? I began playing around with an idea for a Fangborn novel, and it was at the same time as I was working on an archaeological thriller. Neither one really worked until I realized the archaeologist was a werewolf, and Fangborn, but didn't know it; the two books were really halves of one book. That led to Zoe's first adventure, Seven Kinds of Hell, which was published by 47North. Pack of Strays is the second book in that series.
I met my awesome agent, Josh Getzler, chatting at Bouchercon!
I was...confused when I got that call, about fourteen years ago. I'd been scraping the paint from our deck and had just badly hyperextended my thumb. So when my first agent called me, I was very excited and in a lot of pain. Eventually, the thumb healed, but I never got over the thrill of being published.
When Josh sold the Fangborn series a few years ago, I was returning from vacation so that was a much happier experience! We stopped on the way home to pick up champagne to celebrate.
I need the right playlist for whatever it is I'm working on. If I don't have a “soundtrack” for the WIP, then I'm lost. When I get really stuck, I go to an art museum for inspiration.
I love Hong Kong action movies.
I'm not a very crazy person, but one time, I was hiking along the Cinque Terra in Italy; the path was blocked by a locked gate. We had to get to the train station at the town on the other side, and couldn't move up the cliff, so I swung myself around the gate. For a few seconds, I was clinging to a chain link fence many feet above the Ligurian Sea. I was about halfway around when I felt my hands sweating against the rusty chain link and wondered if the gate would support my weight as I dangled above the water. It was the wrong time to wonder if that was a smart idea.
I'm super busy right now, so my TBR pile is heaped up! When I need a break, I make a tiny dent in the pile by reading comics—especially Wonder Woman, Saga, The New Avengers, Hellboy, and a flock by Greg Rucka. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the other contributors did with the Sookieverse in Dead But Not Forgotten. I chose Pam Ravenscroft.
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