Mary Jane Clark is the author of the Key News Thrillers and Wedding Cake Mysteries series. Her latest novel, "Footprints in the Sand," came out in January.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: What was your favorite book as a child?
A: I loved the Trixie Belden mysteries series.
Q: Did you always want to be a writer?
A: No. I wanted to be in broadcast journalism and my time at CBS News led me to writing.
Q: Can you remember the very first thing you ever wrote?
Q: Can you recall the moment you found out you were going to be published?
A: Yes! My first book took me two years to write, another two years to rewrite and then sat on a shelf for another two years. I finally found an agent that would take it and she sold it in two weeks! It was so thrilling. It wasn't a lot of money, but it was a thrill!
Q: How many rejections did you get?
A: Around six.
Q: What is your workday like?
A: Like most, get up, watch the morning news shows and then start writing. I try to set a goal for myself. On a good day, I'll write 10 pages and some days only a couple of paragraphs.
Q: What is your writing style? Do you outline first?
A: No. I am a pretty organic writer. I get a general idea, then my characters, then location and then just write from there.
Q: Do you have a preferred place to write?
A: My home office.
Q: Do you prefer to work with music or quiet?
Q: How do you arrive at the physical appearance of your characters?
A: ("Footprints" protagonist) Piper Donovan is loosely based on my daughter's appearance.
Q: Where do your ideas come from? Do the stories come to you in total or in pieces?
A: A couple of places. From my experience; the Key News series came from my time at CBS. They also come from my perceptions and from the things that I enjoy. That's why "Footprints in the Sand" is set in Florida. I love Florida.
Q: If your book was made into a feature film, who would you want to play the lead?
A: My daughter, she's an actress (Elizabeth Clark). I'd be thrilled if anyone had an interest in adapting my books. I'd love to see them made into a movie.
Q: What is your favorite movie that was adapted from a book?
A: "Gone With the Wind"
Q: What are you reading now?
A: Nothing now. I am writing for deadline, and when I write, I don't like to read anyone else's work. I need to focus.
Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: Too many to name.
Q: Do you use an e-reader?
A: I have an iPad, but have not downloaded a single book on it yet. I like the feel of having a book in my hand. Of being able to see where I'm at and being able to look back.
Q: How much time do you spend on social media?
A: I have two Facebook fan pages. One for me, and my character, Piper Donavan, has one. I check in on them several times a week.
Q: Do you read your reviews?
A: Yes, and I have gotten bad ones. Some of the bad ones are written anonymously and I don't give them much credit. If you can't stand behind your opinion ... I don't take them super-personally. I chose to focus on the good ones.
Q: Are there any books you refuse to read? Why?
A: No, not refuse. There are some I'm just not interested in. I have to use my time wisely.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: I like to go to the movies, garage sales. I once saw one of my books at a garage sale and couldn't decide whether I should buy it or leave it there in the hopes that someone else would buy it later. I love reading, traveling, dining out and cooking. I love the Food Network channel.