Me on Me Again

The Writer Underground interviewed me this week about, well, writing…here's an excerpt.

Q: You came to writing early; you wrote and sold your first novel while still in college. How many novels have you written over the course of your career?

Eight Diagnosis Murder novels, 13 Monk novels, four Jury novels, My Gun Has Bullets, Dead Space, Watch Me Die, and The Walk.

Q: In an era where a lot of “experts” suggest you have to specialize to succeed, you write in several different formats (novels, online, TV, etc); how has that versatility paid off during your career?

It’s kept me alive. I have never put all of my eggs in one basket. So when TV lets me down, the books pick up the slack, and vice-versa. I also work as a TV consultant to studios and networks around the world.

Q: How do you approach new projects when you have little or no experience with that kind of writing (e.g. — your first script, your first novel, first tie-in novel, etc)?

With terror… and excitement. I like challenging myself. It keeps me sharp. I usually begin by researching the subject and talking to experts in it… before tackling it myself.

Q: Any quirky writing habits that would immediately endear you to my readers?

I write in the nude while listening to TV themes. I’m joking, of course. I at least wear underwear.

Q: You’ve got a pretty active online presence; how much time are you investing in your blog, interviews, social media, etc?

Way too much. In fact, I shouldn’t even be answering these questions.

Q: Writing professionally means dealing with tight deadlines, yet “writer’s block” is still a hot topic among writers. How do you make yourself “creative” on a deadline?

It’s the deadline that makes me creative. I do much better when I have a drop-dead date. I have never missed a deadline, even when I had an accident and broke both of my arms.

Q: Any advice for novice writers, or observations about the mistakes they make over and over and over and over…?

Avoid clichés.


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