Creating the characters is the most creative part of the novel except for the language itself. There I am, sitting in front of my computer in right-brain mode, typing the things that come to mind - which become the seeds of plot. It's scary, though, because I always wonder: Is it going to be there this time?
I really liked the idea of creating a journal myself. It's like the way I clear my throat. I write a page every day, maybe 500 words. It could be about something I'm specifically worried about in the new novel; it could be a question I want answered; it could be something that's going on in my personal life. I just use it as an exercise.
The one author who has influenced my writing the most is the English writer John Fowles, who wrote 'The French Lieutenant's Woman,' 'The Magus,' 'The Collector,' and other novels. None of his books is like any other. He continually challenges himself artistically. Some things work; some things don't work. I have tremendous respect for that.