Amy B. asks: If you could chose any author to write about your life (yourself excluded), who would you choose and why?
Danielle Steel. Because then the book would be all about how I blossomed into unearthly beauty at an early age, was snatched from my idyllic childhood by a cruel twist of fate, grittily fought my way to the top of a glamorous profession, and had any number of hugely passionate affairs before being at last reunited with my first, and only true, love. Which is of course exactly how it’s all gone down.
Estefania A. asks: Which are your favorite classic movies, books and paintings?
Some of my absolute favorite classic movies (which I’m defining as 1960 or earlier) include “Notorious,” “Holiday,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Father of the Bride” (the original), “Roman Holiday,” “Bringing Up Baby,” “My Man Godfrey,” “Ninotchka,” “Some Like It Hot,” “The Thin Man,” “The Third Man,” “North by Northwest,” “To Catch A Thief,” “Citizen Kane,” “Gaslight,” “Imitation of Life” (both versions), “Now, Voyager” — you know, this list could go on a while, and the books and paintings as long on their own. I’m going to stop here.
(You will notice that Cary Grant appears frequently in this list.)
Petra I. asks: I can’t begin to understand how difficult it is to write a novel, but maybe you could explain your process. Do you use a pin-board where you stick up all your ideas? Do you write an extensive or brief history/biography on each character?
Neither of those — the ideas get jotted down in the “starter concepts” folder of my laptop until they’ve grown out of being Little Baby Ideas into Plot Thoughts, when they get their own folder. I usually work out an extensive outline over the course of a few weeks or months, and once I’ve got that together, I get to work.
Although I write out what I think are the most important things about each character, I don’t give them full bios at the start. I feel like I find out more fully who they are while I write. I basically get to know the most important things about them and let the rest develop more gradually.
As I said, I’m an outliner, and I’m one of those who has to start at the beginning and work my way through to the end. And I work on separate files for each chapter — which makes it seem less like One Monumental Task and several Big But Manageable Tasks.
Serenity asks: What do you like most about writing?
This is going to sound like a dorky answer, but it’s the writing itself. I am never happier than when I am working my way through a story, and it’s all going well. (Slightly different when it’s not!)
Got a question of your own? We still have four days to go in the Q&A, so feel free to send your questions in to evernightclaudia at gmail dot com, with the subject header “July Q&A Session”!