Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? Writing helped me to make sense of my world. I grew up with parents who liked to speak Italian to each other but didn't want me to learn. I started writing to learn how to give form to thoughts and feelings, not because I wanted to be a published writer. Knowing how to translate what you feel into words is important because otherwise frustration results. Writing is an important medium for the world because the fewer frustrated people running around, the less anger and more harmony. Okay, you've got me started. Let's just say I believe being literate makes for a more interesting life.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? Freewriting. I write about this in my first book, Pen on Fire (Harcourt). Freewriting is the cure. By now everyone knows what freewriting is, but getting the pen moving and keeping it moving, getting words on the page, is the best way I've found to clear logjams.

What is your favorite time to write? Usually midday. I write in the morning with a group on Zoom, and that's good, too, but it seems that around 11:30, things kick in. Sometimes late in the day. Depends on my mood.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Don't wait for the muse. She's so very busy these days. Make writing a habit. I think of the poet Ruth Stone and how she said when she felt a poem coming, she would run and run to get to her desk before the poem passed over her and landed in someone else. If you're not at the desk, this may happen to you.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? Reading remains important, words are important, and there are so many uses for writing, so many means of delivery.

Palm Springs Noir, edited by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, is out now with Akashic Books.