Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, definitely. I started writing stories when I was 4 or 5, and really got into it in 3rd grade. I was a writing minor in college and actually applied to several MFA programs for fiction writing, but never enrolled in a program. I also kept a journal off and on for about 28 years… gah, that’s a long time.
Who are some authors that inspired you along the way?
As a kid… Roald Dahl, CS Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Lois Lowry. As an adult… Tana French, Shakespeare, Stephen King, Bill Bryson, Anne Lamott,
Have you been to Scotland? And was there a real life Ralph there?
I’ve been to Scotland twice, back in the 1990s. I did not meet a real-life Ralph either time. ;-) There may be one there, however – I’m not discounting that possibility. Ralph came straight out of my imagination, and while I’ve been told that men like him don’t exist, I can happily confirm that those people are wrong.
The ending of "Scotland by Starlight" was extremely different than I thought it would go. Not to spoil those that haven't read the book, but was that where you always planned to take the story?
No, it wasn’t. But stories take on lives of their own. The ending came to me well before the book was finished. I sat down one day and began writing in Ralph’s voice. It wasn’t what I expected, but once I started writing it, I could see that it would have to end that way. I can’t explain why, though I have been asked many times by many people!
My favorite question to ask, who would you cast in a movie of either or both of the books?
Fun question! I imagine Ralph as sort of a Richard Gere/Kevin Costner/Sam Neill type. Gerard Butler has always been my go-to guy for Ralph, but if others have suggestions, I’d love to hear them! For Cassie, I’ve thought about Ellen Page (Juno) or maybe Carey Mulligan or Amy Adams… Cassie is harder to cast, I think. There are so many beautiful actresses, and while Cassie is attractive, she’s not drop-dead gorgeous (though Ralph would beg to differ with me on that one). But she is intelligent and a bit neurotic, and that’s not always easy to play.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Write as much as you can. Read whatever you can get your hands on. And don’t listen to people who try to bring you down.
What are you working on next?
I have a novel in progress about a 30-something woman at a crossroads in her life, who meets someone who isn’t what he seems. I have a list of ideas for other books, as well. And I’d love to write the screenplay for A Scottish Ferry Tale and Scotland by Starlight; I see them being combined into one film. However, 2011 has been a year of huge changes for me and I haven’t gotten much writing done at all! I’m planning to carve out some time in 2012, though. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but publishing another novel is definitely on my agenda!
And did I mention, is there a real Ralph in Scotland? I'm ready to go now.
There just might be! But even if Scotland is Ralphless, it’s a gorgeous country with friendly people and cute sheep. Definitely worth a visit!
Thank you to Samantha with CLP Blog Tours for including me in such a wonderful tour.
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