I have a love/hate relationship with jogging.
Hair color is the easiest way to change your appearance, but a bad dye job might draw more attention to you.
For more than three months, I had been president and primary owner of Spellman Investigations, and I can say with complete certainty that I had more power in this office as an underling. My title, it seemed, was purely decorative. I was captain of an unfashionable and sinking ship.
Years ago, when my attempts at a writing career came to a complete stand-still, I applied to the Los Angeles Police Department. This might seem odd for a liberal woman who once went to UC Santa Cruz, but I've always had a powerful fascination with crime and serious interest in finding different ways to contend with it.
Maggie is my sister-in-law, married to my brother David. She is a defense attorney who devotes 25 percent of her practice to pro bono wrongful-incarceration cases.
My mother, at sixty, is one of those classic beauties: all neck and cheekbones, sharp lines that hide her wrinkles from a distance. She still gets whistles from construction workers from three stories up.
I wrote my first screenplay on a lark, because it was a storytelling format that felt like a familiar shorthand - we all watch movies, don't we? But even though I grew up in Los Angeles, my family was entirely unconnected with the movie industry, and I never truly believed that it would one day be my fate.
My writing process is chaos. I usually start with an overarching theme. Then I establish several story threads, but I don't outline. I just start writing and keep notes for what may come. It's an organic process that's usually pretty flexible.
I have certain rules for snooping, under which anything out in the open is fair game. But I also think, in light of some current trends in our culture, that privacy should be respected.
I worked for a private investigative agency briefly. I rarely had the opportunity to snoop.
'Await Your Reply' by Dan Chaon. I've always been obsessed with the idea of disappearing and becoming someone else. Even if you don't share that obsession, I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Sometimes a single item can wrap up, in a nutshell, who a person is. In my grandparents' home, a clear plastic container was enthroned on top of the mahogany bar for at least a decade. Painted on the lid in pink, yellow and light blue was 'Have a Nosh With Mort & Ethel'.
To properly investigate a subject, we must investigate a subject's stuff.
I was never obsessed with being adopted. I was simply curious about my biological parents.
I'm not a huge fan of research, but sometimes you get an idea, and then you realize you don't know anything.
I love 'The Wire'. I can't think of a television show that I think is superior to it in any way. I was obsessed with it from the moment it came on the air. I do also love 'Doctor Who' and 'Get Smart'.
I have certain rules for snooping, under which anything out in the open is fair game.
I liked the idea of exposing the beams in collaborative novel. And there are many - especially in the crime world - there are many people working together: James Patterson and his stable of sub authors; and then there are like Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman and Jason Starr.
We're all amateur investigators. We scan bookshelves, we ogle trinkets left out in the open, we calculate the cost of furniture and study the photographs on display; sometimes we even check out the medicine cabinet.
I usually have a sense of where my characters are personally and ways in which they might transform throughout the novel. But I never know at the outset how the book will end, nor do I ever stick to my original plan.