Welcome to The Wormhole and my day on the tour.
It is my pleasure to feature D.A. Serra and Primal.
I hope you enjoy the interview!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I always wrote: as a little girl I wrote limericks and long-winded birthday cards, as a teenaged girl I wrote morose romantic heartbreak poetry (of course), and as an adult I moved toward more complicated prose. So, while writing has always been a natural part of my life, it took me a long time to see it as a possible career; consequently, there was no specific moment when I knew I was a writer – but there was a specific moment when I committed to making a living at it. That was when I moved to Los Angeles from New York and started working in the television industry. I knew that if I was going to support myself I needed to be where the work was. So, that was how I began.
How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?
Before I committed to a career as a writer, I probably had nine or ten other jobs. I wasn’t happy at any of them. I was an exceptionally hard-worker, and I cared a great deal about doing the job perfectly, but I was too sensitive, and not political enough, for an office or retail environment.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It is widely variable and depends mostly on how good my outline is, and how intricate my theme. I have one book I’ve been writing on-and-off for seven years, and another I finished in six months. Since I came from the film and TV world, and there you are forced to write in stages, I am used to having a fairly good outline. My thriller, Primal, is a bit different, because I wrote it as a speculative screenplay first. I had a loose outline in my mind when I began the screenplay, but I was free to move around in the plot, since it wasn’t a studio assignment. I was delighted when it sold to James Cameron. The film rights are now with FOX and I’m grateful to them for giving me the rights to turn it into a novel. I loved fleshing it out and going deeper. It went quite quickly from screenplay to novel since the script functioned as an excellent outline.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I open my eyes and start writing. I begin writing in the morning, before I’m even out of bed. After a bit, I get up and dress – but I start while barely awake. My husband hands me a cup of coffee in bed around 6:30 a.m., I roll over and open my computer.
Do you have a routine to get into the right frame of mind?
I need coffee while I write. I don’t know why exactly. For me, there is something very comforting about a hot frothy cup of coffee. It makes me feel like musing.
How do you decide what to write about?
I am regularly bombarded by things I want to write, and most specifically by phrases that pop into my head. It is a matter of culling and choosing for me. Nine times out of ten, I will gravitate toward a character, or an interesting philosophical idea, before I will be captivated by a plot device. And I am always writing several different projects at a time. Currently, I’m working on a humorous non-fiction travel memoir, on another thriller with a young girl as the protagonist, and on a very serious novel exploring the idea of Free Will and the unconscious. That one is in final editing, so I’m most excited about it.
What is the first book you remember reading by yourself?
Charlotte’s Web – I still feel my fingers gripping the pages of that book.
What is your favorite comfort food?
Spaghetti with butter & cheese – any day – all day – when sick, when well, no matter.
What book, if any, do you read over and over again?
There are a number of books I pick up over and over: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace, any of the hinges of history series written by Thomas Cahill.
Dogs – all the way!
Coffee – see above
Dark dark dark chocolate – yum
Flowers (does someone like rocks?)
Night time is the best time – work is done and the wine is uncorked