Today there are fewer traditional publishers, and writers have numerous additional options for publication. Aside from e-books, there’s also Vanity Printing (self-publication) and Print-on-Demand (POD) publication. The problem with those options is that few bookstores will stock self-published or POD books and almost no reviewer takes them seriously; and promoting and selling the books is left up to the author. Those chores can take over an author’s life and leave little time for writing new books.
You’ve created dozens of characters over the years. What character is the most memorable? Why?
Probably “Mark” in KILLING MR. GRIFFIN, because he was a teenage psychopath. I had to do a lot of research to make him believable.
If you could re-write one of your novels which one would you choose? Why?
I’ve just finished doing exactly that. Little Brown asked me to up-date ten of my young adult suspense novels to bring them into the 21st Century by changing my characters’ clothing and slang they used, and giving them computers, cell phones, etc. Open Road has had me do the same thing to four other novels which now have been published as e-books.
The hardest problem I had was dealing with the cell phones.
So I frantically orchestrated situation after situation — trying not to make them all the same — in which the phones haven’t been charged or (in Nore’s case) got ruined when Gabe tried to drown her in the river, or, in DOWN A DARK HALL, are out of the area of reception.
Book covers have a lot more pizzazz than they used to. What book would you like to get a cover redesign?
All my novels have just gotten new covers, along with the updates. Here are some examples that demonstrate how trends in book jackets have changed over the years.
With I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, I wanted the challenge of writing a book with a double-identity twist, so the reader would be fooled into thinking one person was two different people. (Ironically that element was totally removed from the film version.)
KILLING MR. GRIFFIN came from pondering the question—“Where do serial killers come from? We read about the terrible things they do as adults, but they weren’t always adults. They’re probably sprinkled through all the schools in our nation, honing their charismatic skills on innocent classmates.
What if ….” (That’s always a fiction writer’s question—the one that leads them into a story) … “what if?” One of my daughters was dating a charming young man who seemed almost too good to be true. So I asked myself…”what if that cute guy is not what he seems? My daughter adores him so much that she’d probably follow him anywhere. He’s the leader of a clique of other kids who also think he’s wonderful. What might he lead them to do if he was a psychopath?”
Are you currently working on something?
As you probably know, my youngest daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette, was murdered at the age of 18. That led me to write a non-fiction book, WHO KILLED MY DAUGHTER?, to motivate tipsters and prevent the facts of her case from becoming buried. I’m currently working on THE TALLY KEEPER, a sequel to that true-life horror story, that includes all the new information we’ve acquired through private investigation since that first book was published.