Diana Gould is a gifted Los Angeles writer who sold her first screenplay while she was still in college. Then came years of steady work, scripting nighttime drama series for television. When the jobs finally dried up, she decided to write a mystery novel. Little did she know that the book’s writing and publication would span a decade of her life. She often wrote at the former Mt. Calvary Retreat House on Gibraltar Road and became close to many of the monks there. Now she serves as a Buddhist chaplain at Santa Monica Hospice.
Coldwater is narrated by Brett Tanager, a onetime television writer and producer whose addiction to booze and pills has destroyed her life — no more jobs, a broken marriage, and no place to call home. Hitting bottom, she struggles to achieve sobriety while simultaneously hunting for her beloved stepdaughter, Julia, who has vanished into a world of Beverly Hills high school girls who casually sell their bodies to studio stars for cash and gifts. The first chapter has a heart-stopping twist, and the last third of the book is a densely plotted roller-coaster ride that challenges Jinx to face her deepest fears.
What was the hardest thing about transitioning from writing TV scripts to writing a novel?
Not getting paid. As a novelist I had no deadlines and no one offering me money to finish the project.
When you began, what did you know about writing novels?
Absolutely nothing. I didn’t even know the difference between so-called genre fiction and literature. I just thought books were books. Getting an MFA at Bennington College in Vermont raised my consciousness. We had to read four or five books each month. I read Proust and a lot of detective novels.
What was the impetus for this particular novel?