When I was a corporate maven many years ago my client was married to a famous author (don’t tell that I had no idea who Danielle Steel was). After meeting her I flippantly said, “I could write a book”. A colleague dared me to do just that and a 30+ year career was born. I started with romances but with the help of a smart editor I was guided into thrillers. That’s where I found my passion and now I am a USA Today and Amazon best selling author. I have been writing full time for over twenty years, teaching writing at programs such as the acclaimed UCLA Writers Program, speaking for business, philanthropic and writing groups across the country. To make my thrillers as real as possible I have taken and graduated from the DEA and ATF Citizen’s colleges and the Navy’s Leaders to Sea program. I am a patient/family advisor at my local hospital after being a cancer patient myself. I have been married to a wonderful man I met in high school who is now a superior court judge, and I am the proud mom of two sons.
What inspires you to write?
Human nature and the law inspire me. I have always been a justice voyeur, fascinated by all aspects of law enforcement because there is so much drama in even the most seemingly innocent incidents. Someone makes a decision, someone decides to lie, someone is falsely accused, someone is ripped away from those they love; I am left breathless by true crime stories and inspired to write about the people crime affects. It is the personal stories within the crime plots that fascinate me. I hope when readers finish one of my books they cannot stop thinking about my characters.
Tell us about your writing process.
Inspiration hits like a meteor – one big lump a story idea in my head. The problem is, it isn't fully formed and I need to hack away at it daily to create the story I want. I have worked with my editor Jenny Jensen (yes even when I was traditionally published I worked with her before I sent it to New York) and she knows my process. Luckily, she is incredibly grounded. I wish I could write to an outline but my brain doesn't work that way. I do a ton of research and often that informs the story or helps me create a character. Characters are usually based on real people – those I know, those I observe, and sometimes those who simply cross my path but leave a lasting impression. I wish I could write a book every six weeks but I'm old school. Mine books are born and nurtured and, hopefully, when they are published they are engaging and exciting.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I talk to my characters all the time – or maybe they talk to me. When I'm really in the zone, they are more real to me than a flesh and blood human being. There is nothing like 'the zone'. The best part is when a reader feels they know the characters. Now that is awesome.
Who are your favorite authors?
Wilkie Collins (Woman in White), Ann Rice, Eric Czuleger, Stephen King to name a few. Oh, Terry Hayes (I Am Pilgrim)
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I spent 25 years as a traditionally published author. In the 'old days' there was no choice. I actually wrote on a typewriter for my first books. I am forever grateful for those years because I learned how to discipline myself, how to create layered stories, how to assess my work and begin again if necessary. Nine years ago I went indie. It has been an incredible – and exhausting – experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to publish books that editors might have balked at. Incredibly, The Witness Series, Josie Bates Thrillers, was originally published by a large publisher who then turned the first three books back to me. When Kindle happened, I indie published them and have gone on to write many more books in the series. Over 2 million readers have downloaded them. What an opportunity the digital revolution gave those of us who believed in books that the traditional publishers couldn't accommodate. The Finn O'Brien Thrillers were born as indie books and I was able to publish those on my own time frame. I think it would be very cool to be a hybrid. Maybe that's the next step.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think books will always be with us. Human beings love to exercise their imagination and books allow us to do that. How we get those books, how they will be curated is the question.
What genres do you write?
Legal thillers, police procedurals, suspense, psychological suspense, women's fiction
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Audiobook
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.