Sandra Brown is author of over 60 bestsellers, with over 80 million copies in print. Some of the titles include Lethal, Rainwater, Tough Customer, Smash Cut, Smoke Screen, Play Dirty, Ricochet, Envy, The Alibi, and Fat Tuesday. Latest STING. She began in broadcasting, and lives in Texas. I spoke to her back when her novel The Crush was released. LOW PRESSURE is about a woman whose older sister was murdered just before a tornado erased all evidence of the act. Years later Bellamy writes a bestseller on the murder, and the murderer resurfaces to attempt her life. The novel is heavy on romance, and is read by Avatar star Stephen Lang, who has read several previous Brown novels, among other authors such Michael Crichton and Dean Koontz. Lang is always engaging, with a sense for tone and timing of revelation.
AT: "The Crush" is a novel that has something for everyone--part suspense thriller, part love story, part detective story, even part legal and medical thriller. Was this your design from the outline stage, or do you even write from a full outline?
SANDRA BROWN: I incorporate romance mystery, suspense, and strong emotions in every book, so "The Crush" was not unusual in that regard. I do write from an outline, very loosely. I have a basic story idea when I begin, but I let the characters take over from there.
AT: Are your characters ever based on real people? For instance, would your own doctor recognize Dr. Rennie Newton in "The Crush"?
SB: I've never based a character on a real person or actor. No one I know personally is nearly as interesting as the characters in my books!
AT: "Envy" has an excellent narration on audio, and a brooding cover design. What do you think of the narrators you've had, like Victor Slezak, Jan Maxwell, Tom Wopat and others?
SB: I think Simon & Schuster has done a fabulous job in selecting my actors.
AT: The plot of "Envy" reminded us of the true story of the death of movie legend Natalie Wood. There were two men on that boat, too, when she died under mysterious circumstances. What was your inspiration for the novel?
SB: My first inspiration was writing a story about two male friends whose friendship was shattered by their competitiveness. While trying to arrive at what they were competing for, I considered athletes, legal eagles, doctors, and military men. But it wasn't until I thought of them as writers that I knew I had a compelling story.
AT: And the genesis for "The Crush"?
SB: That began, not with a concept, but with the character of Dr. Newton. I wanted a strong professional woman who stood to lose everything if her past came to light.
AT: What is your own professional background?
SB: I worked as a commercial television personality in Tyler, Texas and Dallas. I began writing when I was fired from the TV job. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I wrote romance for eight years before switching to mainstream. Ten years into my career I had my first NY Times bestseller.
SB: Tennessee Williams, Taylor Caldwell, Irving Wallace and Evelyn Anthony.
AT: Do you listen to audiobooks when you travel?
SB: When I take road trips, yes. Am guilty of reaching my destination and spending another ten minutes in my car until I get to a stopping point.
AT: Have you ever suggested busy people try audiobooks?
SB: I'm so in favor of them, I've awarded them as prizes online. To people who have long commutes and complain of being unable to read as they drive, I definitely recommend them!