Hallie Ephron

How did you become a writer?

I couldn't help myself. I come from a family of writers and for decades insisted I wasn't one of them. Finally genes got the better of me when I got a call from a freelancer who wanted to write a magazine piece about me because I was "the only one who didn't write." I told her if anyone was going to write about me not writing it was going to me. That's what my first essay was about. It was whiney. I got that out of my system and three years later started writing fiction.

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

My family, of course. Especially my mother who was a writer long before women had careers of any kind and who loved books and read poetry at the dinner table. Like so many others, I found Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird" inspirational. And writing teacher Arthur Edelstein who sadly died a few years back.

When and where do you write

At home -- just about anywhere. Usually I start in my little office and drift around the house, changing my surroundings when I get stuck. Mornings are best for first draft. I can revise any time.

What are you working on now?

Another suspense novel -- this will be my fourth. It's set in 1965 in Beverly Hills where I grew up and not a place I'd ever want to move back to. I don't want to say more because honestly it's shifting under me.  

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

All the time. For me it's more idea block - I don't have a good enough idea for what's going to happen next. I've learned to trust the chaos.

What’s your advice to new writers?

Hold your nose and write. Once you get a first draft written, you can fix it. It's advice I wish I were able to follow.

Hallie Ephron (hallieephron.com) has published eight novels including the prize-winning Never Tell a Lie  which was turned into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network. Her work has been called "unputdownable" (Laura Lippman), "richly atmospheric" and "Hitchcockian" (USA Today), and "deliciously creepy (Publisher's Weekly). Washington Post book reviewer Maureen Corrigan calls her latest bestseller, "There Was an Old Woman, "the perfect thriller lite ... A New York suspense story set in an extraordinary outer-borough neighborhood that will stay with readers.” Hallie's how-to book about mystery writing, "Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel," was an Edgar award finalist.