Author's Comment: On Writing:
"I plan a lot of my work ahead. I plan the plots very carefully and then I divide the book into three sections and then divide the sections into chapters and do summaries for each one. I always write my last chapters first and my first chapters last because you have to rewrite the first one a thousand times to get it right. The last chapter is vital. If there are any loose ends you better take care of them before you write the rest of the book."
"I used to spend a lot of time reading newspapers and magazines, and I'd clip out little tidbits that might lead to plot ideas. Eventually, I had enormous files with clippings that had the germ of a plot in them."
On Her Characters:
"Yes [my characters are taken from real life]. I'd think of someone who had a special type of disposition and meld him or her together with maybe two or three other people and there emerges a character who is new. The character takes over and becomes a living human being. Somehow, they exist. Trixie Belden's kid brother, Bobby, was a combination of my kid brother and my younger son...I can talk about my characters without any sense of pride or egotism because to me they are real people. They get involved in a plot I devise, and they make it come to life. If you don't feel that way, then they are just stick figures.
I put my heart and soul into those books.