Tell us about your recent Riptide release. What was the inspiration behind it?
For When to Hold Them the inspiration was the setting of Bluewater Bay.
Olympic Park basically screamed 'park ranger' at me, and Xavier just strolled in, in full, glorious 3D; with Doran, a little more shadowy at first, behind him. Both guys were talking (they don't always), and the story fell into place in the most beautiful way imaginable; it practically wrote itself.
What can readers expect when they read a story from you? What would you like potential readers to know about you and your books?
I hope they can always expect real people. Full-fledged characters with all the faults and potential grace of the human condition. And I'll always explore a topic that interests me deeply, that tugs at me and won't let me go until I've written it out. I'll always be 100% involved in what I write, and pour my heart and soul into it. No shortcuts.
What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while writing your latest release?
That I can write a book in six months. Seriously, that has never happened before. It was a streak of good luck that seems to have used up all my writing karma points, because the current one is fighting me tooth and nail. ;)
How long does it take you to write a book?
It's less the writing that takes time than the shaping in my mind. Usually a book needs to percolate through my conscious and subconscious mind for a few months before I can actually start to write, before it's well-rounded and interconnected in theme, plot, and motivation. Up to now I would have said that makes it at least a year with all rewrites and edits. Go figure.
Describe your workspace.
I write my first draft on a portable keyboard that I drag everywhere - outside on the deck, in the park, in the coffee shop, in front of the fireplace ...
Everything else I do at my desk with shelves of references and dictionaries within easy reach, half a million browser tabs open, and Scrivener up on the Mac.
I usually have headphones on, with music that to me fits the book I'm currently writing. My playlist is a big part of putting me 'in the zone'.
Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to cure it?
Not sure I believe in writer's block as such. If I'm reluctant to go back to a manuscript, or I find myself staring at an empty page not knowing how to continue, it usually means that something doesn't work, and that I have to take a long, hard look at my planning/plotting/character motivation - that sort of thing. I'll either take a long walk on which to do some pondering and free association (aka day dreaming), or I'll sit down with a roll of paper and some crayons to puzzle things out with a generous amount of arrows, underlinings and circles.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
I'm currently working on another Bluewater Bay novel, and after that I plan on returning to the world of Santuario to see what Tom and Matti are up to. I eventually want to get back to Alex and Bengt as well. I love them too much to let them go, and their story is not completely told just yet.
Do you have a favorite quote?
I don't know about favourite, but I quite like this one by Neil Gaiman:
"When writing a novel, that's pretty much entirely what life turns into: 'House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.'"