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Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas are everywhere: in life, in words, in thoughts. I picture them as flying through the air, waiting for someone to grab them before the next person does.

Did your idea for Missing come from life or somewhere else?
One of the amazing things about the writing process is the uncanny way fiction melds with true life. Like the story about Tracie Dean I saw on Oprah one afternoon while I was writingMISSING. She, like my lead character, Stacie Cox, had a chance encounter with a child (and adult) that unsettled her to the point that she contacted several police agencies, believing the child had been kidnapped. Finally, after having no success with the authorities, she returned to the place she'd originally seen the girl and eventually helped the police rescue her and uncover the truth: she and another boy were sexual abuse victims. Yes, my story is fiction, but heroines like Stacie Cox really do exist. 

When do you find time to write?
To me, writing is one of my necessities of life; so just like preparing meals for my family and taking a shower, I make time for it. Even if it's just for a few minutes. Actually, I wrote much of Missing while sitting in the car during my children's soccer practices. 

Do you plot your books ahead of time or just begin writing and see where it takes you?
Both. I initially gather ideas as they come to me in a notebook, and then I begin to outline the important points of the story. I absolutely have to know my beginning and my ending or I can’t write. However, as I write from point to point, a lot of “waiting to see what happens” takes place.

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Constantly drumming up the courage to submit my work, have it read by others, and ultimately critiqued. When it comes to writing, I have a great deal of the perfectionist in me, so I’m always afraid my work isn’t quite good enough. That said, there is nothing like the thrill I get when I learn others have enjoyed and/or been blessed by my words. That success—joy—more than compensates for my fear. 

Do you ever experience writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Not writer's block, per se, because I always have ideas floating around, but I definitely do have times when I get stuck on a scene. The best way I’ve found to get out of that snag is to take my problem to my critique group and let them help me brainstorm my way out of it. They are wonderful and invaluable! But if they're not around, reading, research, and personal brainstorming also helps.

What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Learn your craft, study the market so you have an idea of what is selling, write what interests you within those parameters, and then submit, submit, submit.

When you finish a book, do you take a break from writing? 
Not really. I usually move on to the research and planning stages for my next project. 

What do you consider to be a "perfect" book?
I like suspenseful, fast paced plots, "deep" characters, and a good dose of romance. I like to feel what the characters feel, and I like to come away from the work with a greater understanding of life and/or truth.