Over the years we have noticed trends in what is being published in the mystery genre. Some years we seem to have an abundance of books around the theme of kidnappings, other years it is psychological thrillers or serial killers. Police procedurals and historical mysteries continue to be huge sellers.
Short stories are challenging because you always have to think up a new beginning, a new character, a new plot. Novels are slightly easier as you have something that you settle in with -- something larger to explore and study.
The funny thing about history is that for all the reports of the standard mores of behavior, there were always outliers, women who explored Africa, who went on hunger strikes, who spied for the government.
Making Shana a martial artist was pretty self-serving… she needed a pastime, and I already had some knowledge of karate due to my own experience. I do think drawing on that helps to build emotion and tension, simply because the sensation of sparring with someone is familiar to me.
'Butt in chair.' In other words, show up to write and treat it like a real job, not just a hobby. My mother used to repeat that quote that 90% of success is just showing up, and that’s very true when it comes to writing.