The Virtual Life of Lexie Diamond

My beloved grandmother passed away before my first child was born and I deeply regretted that they never met. Several months after my daughter’s birth, I was driving down Sunset Boulevard—ideas often come to me while driving or in the shower—and I thought, what if they could meet online? I dropped the idea into this big stew, which simmers at the back of my mind. Over time, I added my maternal fears of what might happen to my children if I died, as well as my fondness for the hacker’s language and a good mystery. Eventually, the material seasoned into the coming-of-age, supernatural thriller that became The Virtual Life of Lexie Diamond.

First, I outlined the story and mulled it over for some time. Perhaps during that process I dialed in Lexie’s voice, because once I began writing the novel, she took me for a fast and furious ride. The original draft came ripping out of me in three months—I could barely keep up with the pace. Of course, I then had to spend a long time fine-tuning the manuscript. All through it, the voice of this isolated, unhappy 13-year-old girl, Lexie Diamond, whispered in my ear. Of course, I had similar teenage angst. And yet, I am a grown woman, and my life has been quite different from hers; I didn’t have a computer at her age! Writing is a mysterious process—Norman Mailer called it the Spooky Art.