How do you continue to find inspiration after writing so many novels?
That’s a very good question. The answer, I suppose, is that I’m always and forever reading and shamelessly eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. Everything is grist for my mill, so to speak. I might read about a situation and think, “what if–?” and then I’m off and running. My Clare and Tony mysteries, commonly called the Look Books, are a good example—I used to see this guy on TV all the time, when I lived down in Arizona, a lawyer advertising for business. His hair was slicked back and his suit was fancy and I remember thinking he was the ultimate ambulance-chaser, with a clear message: no matter what awful thing you’ve done, we can get you off. I knew that attitude was bound to really tick off, say, a homicide detective, who would have a vested interested in seeing the culprit sent to prison. Voila! Clare Westbrook was my defense attorney heroine, and she was involved with Tony Sonterra, a homicide detective, of course. I’ve been writing for a long time, and I use many techniques to prime the pump—mixed media art is my hobby, and I find that I get some of my best ideas when I’m snipping, gluing, painting, etc. I keep an art journal and make artist trading cards. Trips are always good, too—a change of scene and environment is very stimulating. I need a lot of visual stimulation, I find. I spent a lot of time just looking at things, and imagining things that could happen. I spent a lot of time in Europe, years ago, and oddly enough that was what clued me in that I needed to focus on westerns, since that’s basically my life. You know the old saw, write about what you know.