Ripped from the Headlines

Ripped from the Headlines For many years, my daytime writing life and my nighttime writing life were totally separate. During the day, I wrote about food and sustainability. At night, I wrote fiction: mysteries and crime, thrillers, the occasional science fiction. But recently, a strange thing happened. The food issues I was writing about during […]

Dark Nights Ahead

Dark Nights Ahead One of the joys of writing a series character is getting to keep her around. Mine is New Orleans Police Department rookie Maureen Coughlin. Deciding where to take her with each new book is a challenge. And I don’t just mean in terms of plot, but where does she go emotionally, psychologically, […]

Fourteen Writing Tips

Fourteen Writing Tips 1. Strengthen your writing muscles by writing for an hour every day, without distractions and without stopping. Then, if your other work schedule permits, go to two hours, then three. If you have trouble sitting still that long, write for twenty minutes, get up and stretch/exercise/have a cup of coffee for five […]

Marple Style

Marple Style In real life, accidental detectives are about as likely as unicorns gaining the right to vote. Yet, we still cling to the notion of seemingly innocuous people finding themselves embroiled in murder and intrigue because it’s romantic. What would the canon of cozy mystery fiction be without this leap of faith? Where would […]

Yellow Fever and Poisoned Wells

Yellow Fever and Poisoned Wells Here, let me tell you a quick story.I was eighteen years old, out to dinner at The Grove with three girlfriends. All four of us were Asian girls, three of us high school classmates, the fourth, a younger sister, aged fifteen. We sat at a booth, and our waitress was […]

From Screen to Stage to Page

From Screen to Stage to Page I’ve been a screenwriter for over twenty years, but since I now have a novel out and a play that I wrote being developed for a possible run in New York, I’ve been thinking about the different modes of writing—what they have in common and how they differ. The […]

The Verdict is in: Landay and Quirk win the top prizes

The Verdict is in: Landay and Quirk win the top prizes On Wednesday, July 10, at an invitation-only cocktail party at the Society of Illustrators in Manhattan, William Landay won The Strand Critics Award for Best Novel for Defending Jacob (Delacorte) and Matthew Quirk won the Best First Novel award for The 500 (Reagan Arthur […]

Interview with Carl Hiaasen

Interview with Carl Hiaasen AFG: We all know about the several challenges of writing, but what are some of the challenges you face with a YA book? CH: Kids are a sharp audience, and if you’re writing humor it had better be dead-on funny. They love the irreverence of satire, skewering phonies, poking fun at […]

Of Prose, Professionals, and Politics

Of Prose, Professionals, and Politics You don’t spend twenty-five years as a Los Angeles trial lawyer without rubbing up against a few memorable characters. Some, in my case, were household names—Richard Pryor, for example, whom I represented for over a decade—but most you’ve never heard of and, in many cases, you should be grateful you […]

Move by Move: How to Outline

Move by Move: How to Outline More than a decade ago, I had an idea for a series of thrillers featuring a one-armed detective. I attended a seminar by a well-known novelist who taught us to carefully and meticulously outline our novels and then stick to the outline. Well, I didn’t get very far in […]

An American Gastronome In Barcelona

An American Gastronome In Barcelona Barcelona Skyline is a story that bounces around a good deal, geographically speaking, though most of the action takes place in and around Barcelona. In the United States, there is Reno because I needed the gambling and the casinos, and Reno is much more attractive than Las Vegas with its […]