When did you first start writing?
I started late, about halfway through my 17-year software engineering career and at a time my children were needing less of my time. A friend suggested we start writing a series of e-mail letters “in character” so she could practice her writing. It sounded fun, not near so hard as planning and writing a whole story, which I had always imagined next to impossible. When I sat down to write the first letter, I came up with twenty pages. I was astonished, and I was hooked.
What kind of stories interest you most?
Complex, layered stories about interesting people caught up in dramatic adventures. I want to like the protagonist – eventually if not at first. And I want a satisfying ending, not artificially happily ever after, but not ambiguous or unrelentingly grim.
What does your family think about your career?
My husband has been totally supportive throughout it all. He is thrilled that I’ve discovered work I’m passionate about. Writing is not just “a job.” My sons are also enthusiastic supporters. When my youngest son Andrew was in seventh and eighth grade, and I was still writing for myself, he would come in and have me read my work to him. He kept coming back for more, which was a great encouragement. He still likes to read my work before it gets printed.
Of course, my eldest son, a musician, has told me he thinks my books need more pictures. I threw a book at him.
What spurred you to quit your full time job at HP to write full-time? was there a particular event?
Actually yes. In 2002, my employer Hewlett-Packard Co. bought Compaq Computer. One of the first things they did after the merger was offer to pay those who had been with the company more than fifteen years to leave. I felt as if it was an IQ test which I passed.
How was the transition like?
Very easy. I was already working at engineering only three days a week and writing for the other four. I just dropped that old day-job stuff.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Actually, I never believed I could write a book. I have always been an avid reader of many genres, fantasy and science fiction, mystery, spy thrillers, classics, you name it. But the idea of figuring out a complicated plot, making characters come to life, foreshadowing events so that a reader would say, “Ah-ha!” just seemed horribly difficult. For many, many years, I was content to read, and channel my creative efforts into my work as a software engineer and my family.