What other genre(s) would you be tempted to try besides crime? Conversely, what other genre(s) would you rather eat fiberglass that write in? And on both questions, why?
I’m tempted to write in genres that I love: science fiction, high adventure, political/espionage thrillers. But romance? Bake me a fiberglass cake — I couldn’t do it. I don’t have the patience or skill to focus an entire book on the romantic fortunes of two characters. Likewise, slice-of-life literary novels about suburban midlife crises? Even thinking about that bores me. Waiter, two slices of cake, with napalm icing!
Rich K asks:
Here is one I have wondered about for awhile which I would ask every author I might eventually meet. When choosing a theme or plot, how do you decide on where to set it? I understand growing up in California you would be familiar with the area for your characters to wreak havoc upon, so I wanted to know what drew you to Oklahoma City (yes, I know you were born there) and then into New Mexico. Will we see a novel set in Austin sometime in the future?
My novel that opens in Oklahoma City, The Shadow Tracer, is a combination of road trip, chase story, and Road Warrior narrative. I wanted the action to unfold across wide open, wild, and forbidding landscapes. That’s the American Southwest. If something goes wrong on a desert highway in New Mexico, you’re on your own, sister. The environment becomes an antagonist in its own right. I wanted the heroine of the book, Sarah Keller, to face all kinds of demons in a hellish landscape.
Also, I love New Mexico. My grandparents lived in Roswell. I spent many summers there, and our family explored that part of the country — from Carlsbad Caverns to Ruidoso to White Sands. Setting the novel there allowed me to incorporate a fantastic part of the country into a life-or-death story.
Of course, when my family visited New Mexico, we did it in a Ford station wagon. Whether it was a hellish trip is a question you’d have to ask my parents, who put up with four kids demanding, Are we there yet?