How do your friends and family feel about you writing about messiness of your life?

My husband and children are 100% supportive and believe I can tell my story however I feel necessary. Their encouragement is a big reason I decided to move forward with my memoir. As for my extended family and friends, while I love them, their opinion has not factored into my decision.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It depends on the book. The fastest I’ve drafted a novel is six weeks, and the longest has taken eight years.

Where do you get your ideas?

I draw on both my imagination and real life. Typically, something happens in real life, and I think, “How can I make this situation more interesting?” My brainstorming often leads me in a new, imaginative direction that bares little resemblance to the original event.

What’s your favorite part of writing?

Revising. I love taking rough drafts and sculpting them into something clearer and more vibrant. My rough drafts tend to be short and little more than elaborate outlines, and it’s in the revision process where I layer in description, strengthen character motivations, and weave a tighter story.

What advice would you give someone who wants to write a novel?

First, read heavily in your selected genre. It’s important to understand what other authors successfully (and unsuccessfully) do, and apply those lessons to your own work. Second, the only way to finish a manuscript is to sit your butt in a chair and do the hard work.

Novel writing is a complicated, daunting process. I’ve written over twenty books, and it never, ever gets easier. Every time I start a new manuscript, I wonder if I can actually finish another book, and it’s not unusual for me to discard dozens of starts before finding the one that feels just write.

Ultimately, if you want to write, write. There’s no other way to do it.