I recently went along to see Jodi Picoult talking about her new book, House Rules, at an event put on by Toppings Booksellers in Ely. As you would expect from someone on her 17th book, she does a tremendous amount to get her books written, and to promote them when they come out.
The questions ranged over many of her previous books, asking how she came to write about so many contentious issues. A lively woman, you get the sense that Jodi enjoys setting the cat among the pigeons, but she always researches meticulously. For Plain Truth, she spent a week milking cows with an Amish family, and for Second Glance, she shadowed ghost hunters, which led to some fascinating stories.
I managed to ask her quickly for her one sentence of advice for aspiring writers, and she said: 'Go on a writing course'. I hesitate to say she approaches her writing like a business, but she is undoubtedly one of the most professional authors I've met, so it makes sense that she would suggest training.