Q. Where do you get the ideas for your mysteries?
A. I always start with some sort of social problem that intrigues me. In A Confidential Source, it was gambling. In Yesterday’s Fatal, it was staged car accidents. In Teaser, I became interested in the dangers of social networking for young teenagers. I was especially fascinated by The New York Times story about Jason Berry, a young boy who was lured into the dark side of cyberspace.
Q. Besides being an author, what is your fantasy job?
A. I’m going to avoid the obvious answers: Rock star, Broadway actress, professional tennis player, and go with something I’ve been toying with a lot lately. I really like teenagers and was one of the only mothers I knew who preferred the teenage years to the cute, toddler years. Currently, I’m enjoying working with a teenager who is helping me on my new book as part of her senior project at school. So I’ve started to fantasize about teaching English or writing in high school.
Q. What do you enjoy doing the most in your free time?
A. Tennis. Lots and lots of tennis, both singles and doubles. All this tennis requires a lot of Pilates and yoga so my hamstrings don’t crack in half.
Q. If you could be any other person for a day, who would it be and why?
A. Given all this tennis, it’s not so surprising that I’d like to be Venus Williams. I’d like to have her serve, her forehand, her net play, and wingspan for just one day. Plus I admire her sportsmanship and think she’s gorgeous. But I wouldn’t really want her job; I think that level of pressure would ruin the escape I find in sports.
Q. You were a newspaper reporter for many years. Were you as an aggressive of a reporter as your protagonist, Hallie Ahern?
A. I like to think I was an aggressive reporter, but no one in her right mind is as aggressive as Hallie. She crosses a lot of lines and interjects too much of her passion into a story. Her ego is fragile, and she lays it on the line. Who else would go to those lengths to solve a mystery?