🔸 Tell us about your new book.
Kat Ayalon will fight tooth and nail to find the driver who smashed into her friend Wynn, and then fled. She’ll also do whatever it takes to protect the love of her life, Gordy, whose only goal is not to get on the wrong side of the law. After all, she’s always been better at taking care of others than herself. But when the worlds of her friend and her lover collide, Kat is faced with the toughest choice of all: How can she help both Wynn and Gordy if supporting one means selling out the other? TIMING IS EVERYTHING is available for pre-order now.
🔸 Does writing energise or exhaust you?
I often compare writing to doing a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle. There is nothing more exhilarating than finding the piece you’re looking for and watching how the picture comes together in ways you didn’t expect. On the other hand, all puzzles have a large expanse of something (like sky) and that part can be excruciating to work through!
🔸 Have you ever got reader’s block?
Definitely. I keep a journal listing all the books I read, and I find I have cycles. For a while, I just wasn’t interested in reading novels and only read memoir. Then I discovered domestic suspense novels and read a whole bunch of those. And then there are those times when I just don’t feel like reading at all, and I go right back to my jigsaw puzzles!
🔸 Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Great question. If only I’d realised from the beginning that readers want connections, and that there might be characters I wanted to pursue. ALONG CAME THE RAIN is set in a fictional county (Jade) that, in my mind, was very much based on Pinellas, where I live. The second half of my second novel, DEVOTED, is set in the town I live in, Gulfport. Finally, I got it – TIMING IS EVERYTHING, is now officially Book One in THE GULFPORT MYSTERY SERIES and includes characters from the first two novels.
🔸 Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
It’s not a secret exactly, but in ALONG CAME THE RAIN, the protagonist, Wynn, struggles with being extremely absent-minded to the point that could indicate dementia.
People who don’t know me ask, “What made you think of her as a character?”
Friends say, “I saw a lot of you in Wynn!”
🔸 What is your favourite childhood book?
THE FORTUNES OF DORIA by Pamela Grant. It was my mother’s favourite novel and she passed it on to all of us. Written in 1931, it follows a very spirited, independent, young girl who lives with her mother and grandmother and yearns to go to a girl’s boarding school. Doria is strong-willed, adventurous, creative and has a mind of her own.
🔸 How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book(s)?
As well as telling a good story, I like to look at topics that are current and relevant. TIMING IS EVERYTHING includes the issue of a woman who, though legally in the USA, is terrified of being deported. As a former immigrant myself, I know how insecure you can feel until you actually have your citizenship. Even more so in today’s current climate. In DEVOTED, I wanted to portray someone who has to struggle to integrate her sexuality and her faith. I grew up orthodox Jewish, so I know this process well. And as mentioned previously, I wrote about someone with memory problems because I know of so many people my age and a bit older who constantly wonder whether what we’re going through is normal, or the beginning of Alzheimer’s.
🔸 Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I love reading books that make you question a character’s reality – an unreliable narrator like the heroine of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN who is an alcoholic, the unfaithful husband in GONE GIRL. I enjoy writing in a number of genres. Last year, I made a book of first chapters and asked my email list subscribers to let me know which one they wanted me to write next. Almost everyone said, “Kissing The Rabbi’s Wife”, which is my memoir. I’m still working on it. (If your reader’s contact me, I’ll happily send them a link to the book of first chapters.)
🔸 Where did your love of books, storytelling, reading, writing, etc. come from?
My mother read to us every night before we went to sleep. As a child, every Saturday afternoon, I would walk to the local library, take out three books and immediately start to devour them. Plus, it’s a family thing. When my father died, he had over 10,000 books in his library (he built one in the garden when he ran out of space in the house!)
🔸 Are you spring, summer, autumn or winter? Please share why.
Summer! I love sunshine. I grew up in the UK and had to learn to embrace the rain. At 18, I moved to Israel and have never lived in a cool climate since. I find sunshine energising, peaceful, and warming. And that’s the kind of person I’d like to be.
🔸 If you could live anywhere on this planet and take everything you love with you, where would you choose to live?
Right where I am! Gulfport, Florida sits on the Gulf of Mexico, and is small, beautiful, charming and friendly. Our library has the first LGBTQ Resource Center in Florida and was recently awarded a national library award for its innovative LGBTQ programming. I’ve lived in Israel, Mexico and California and while they all had a lot to offer, I truly found my home here. I do wish the rest of my family lived here too, though.
🔸 If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose and why?
The Australian Barrier Reef. When I was 19, I hitch-hiked down to the Sinai peninsula and discovered the barrier reef there. Ever since, whenever I snorkel at a reef, I’m always a little disappointed because nothing lives up to the Sinai. But I believe Australia would.
🔸 Tea or coffee?
Tea. You can take the girl out of England, but you can’t take England out of the girl.
🔸 Can you fake any accents?
I speak multiple languages (English, Spanish, Hebrew, some French) and people usually have a hard time trying to figure out where I’m from, whichever language I’m using. My UK family think my English sounds completely American. Americans think I sound as if I’m from New England. When I lived in Israel and spoke only Hebrew, a local storekeeper was convinced I was Russian and would speak to me in Russian because he didn’t believe it when I said I wasn’t!
🔸 How do you choose your character’s names?
They mostly choose themselves. I have a character in ALONG CAME THE RAIN named Barker. Readers ask if it’s her first or last name and I tell them, I don’t know – it just came to me that that’s who she was. The protagonist in DEVOTED was called Erica/Rikki almost until publication when I realised she was actually Ashley/Ash. I seem to have a penchant for names that begin with K. When I got to TIMING IS EVERYTHING and wanted to use characters from previous books, I discovered Kat and Kallie would be in numerous scenes together, so Kallie had to decide to change her name! (Luckily, she’s an adopted teenager so it was a reasonable thing to do.)
🔸 Which literary character is most like you?
Doria, in THE FORTUNES OF DORIA (see above!)
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