What writers have influenced you the most and why?
Short answer: all of them, really. Humorist Dave Barry is one of my favorite authors, but I don’t write humor (would love to one day). What his writing DID teach me was to think outside the box and to look at situations from different perspectives. So does “MAD” magazine. Another favorite author of mine is Roald Dahl.
Some so-called “bad” authors have influenced me too—to NOT write like them! And many, many authors have a wonderful grasp of language and words that just flow off the page. Their characters and their words come alive. I read books like I breathe air, which is to say I read A LOT, and so no one author has had time to get his or her tentacles firmly into me!
Whose opinion(s) about writing do you value most and why: other writers, readers, family/friends, editors/publishers
All opinions are valid, and no one person’s opinion is more important or valuable than another person’s. That said, readers are the people who buy the books.
What genre do think would be the hardest for you to write and why?
Probably straight romance. Like I said, I tried it once and did not get far. I’d probably be thinking all the while I was writing: Why aren’t these people two women? Whose bright idea was it to make one of them a dude? Oh yeah… MY bright idea!
For the research aspect, I imagine courtroom/legal thrillers would be difficult. These are probably best left to police officers and lawyers.