Question: Do you believe that government is involved in conspiracies and secret experiments such as those that are the basis of some of your novels? I am a huge fan and have all your novels. Please keep up the great work. Brenda, Ottawa, Ontario
Answer: Politics of either the left or right can breed utopian visions. Utopians have not the patience, humility, or courage to change the lives of family and neighbors for the better on a one-to-one basis-in other words, brightening the corner where they are — but want instead to change the world by the implementation of one grand scheme or another. History reveals that no utopian scheme ever works because it treats human beings, in all their rich variety, as automatons to be manipulated into "right living." All the horrors of the last century, from Hitler to Stalin to Mao were the result of utopians imposing their vision of the perfect world on others by force, with the result that more than 150 million people were murdered by those three men alone. Most organized religions, for all their faults, view mankind as imperfect, as fallen, and therefore recognize that any utopian scheme created by the mind of man or woman will fail, and usually at a terrible price.
But in the political realm, there are many who believe in the perfectibility of humanity, against all evidence to the contrary, and therefore will pursue any oppression or violence in the name of their ideals.
If there are weird conspiracies and secret labs engaged on utopian quests, therefore, they are more likely to be run by government than by anyone else. Do they exist? I don't know. But they provide some fun story ideas!
Question: Who or what is your muse? Natalie, Chicago
Answer: I think my dog, Trixie, may be an angel in disguise or at least a muse, whispering story points and character resolutions to me as I sleep.
Question: I anxiously await your new books and savor every moment of them. I wonder sometimes if you ever scare yourself with your graphic descriptions and plots twists. You certainly do scare me, and I am a grandmother. Marsha, Richmond, Ky.
Answer: Oh, great. Now, to be honest, the next time I have to fill out a questionnaire of any type, when they ask my occupation, I'll have to say "I scare grandmothers." I have only once spooked myself while writing a story — and that was during Intensity. It is easy to laugh out loud at a character's dialogue, as if I'm not writing it but listening to it, and in emotional scenes I can move myself to tears, but scaring myself isn't as easy. I don't know why. Maybe because I'm not half as scary as the news.
Question: Why doesn't Hollywood "get" you? Your books sell millions, yet most of the Hollywood projects made from your works barely register on the public radar. As an A-list author, do you have much input with the projects and do you want more control? Rob, Winter Park, Fla.