Where did you get the idea for The Seduction of Miriam Cross?
The concept was born in Driggs, Idaho (also the name of my youngest dog, so clearly the town made an impression). We stayed in a house that was surrounded by cattle ranches. We’d go to sleep to the sound of cows mooing and wake up the same way. From our porch, we could look across the plains, beyond tall grass and the backs of grazing cattle, to the Grand Tetons. An incredible view. And the neighboring cowboys were these mysterious, reserved men who’d tip their hats from horseback as we drove by. One day a rancher’s cows got loose and we found our car surrounded on a dirt road by a cacophonous herd of escapees. We couldn't move or get out of the car. The rancher rode his horse over to our car and very casually apologized. He was so calm. I wondered what it would be like to be a girl growing up in that environment and voila, Delilah came into being. I wrote the first chapters that night.
But the story’s not set in Idaho . . .
No, it’s set in suburban Philadelphia. Delilah is a displaced cowgirl!
What’s your writing process like?
I write whenever I can, wherever I can. I’m a morning person, so I like to write early in the day, before my tenacious inner critic is fully awake. I get up around 5:30, write until 7, then social media and off to work. At night, I’m worthless, so that’s when I edit and take care of email, etc. On weekends I try to carve out a few hours each day. Now that’s in a perfect world. The reality is that come 5:30 a.m., I may have work to do for my day job or maybe the kids kept me up all night or the dog is vomiting and nothing gets done. When that happens, I have to improvise. I travel with a notebook and my laptop. I can write at lunch in Starbucks if I need to.
The Delilah Percy Powers series doesn’t have one “star.” Why – and how does that play out in the series?
Once I started writing, I realized that Delilah needed ranch hands, at least in the figurative sense. I think we’re better people when we surround ourselves with folks who not only have our backs, but who aren’t afraid to argue and question. So I decided to give Delilah some partners, both to challenge her and to broaden the scope of what she, as part of a team, could handle.
As far as the series, these ladies work together, but each one plays a different role. Delilah’s the ring leader. Barb, the militant mom, is smart and practical. Margot, the former nun, is savvy and connected. And Natasha, the runaway and former stripper . . . well, she had a rough life and could have easily gone in the wrong direction, but instead, she fights the bad guys with her own brand of justice (although not always within the letter of the law).
Why all women?
I love when people defy the stereotypes thrust upon them. While alone any one of these women might not fit the description of a bad ass investigator, together they kick butt.
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"I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia, in the midst of a large, chaotic and loving extended family. My parents encouraged any activity that developed our imaginations. In fact, one of my father's favorite sayings (usually said in response to whiny complaints by my brother or me) was, "Only boring people are bored." The sentiment still sticks with me and when I find myself in a rut I feel compelled to do something creative to break out of it." ~W.A Tyson