Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I have been writing as long as I can remember. It's how I process life.
What makes writing your passion?
On a personal level, writing allows me to take what's in my head and allow it to trickle from my fingers onto the page, enabling me to look at the world objectively. I am a truth-teller, a cycle-breaker, an authentic person to the marrow of my bones. As an author, I write to tell stories whose characters feel so real to my readers that they empathize with them, get angry with them at times, cry with them, and cheer for them when they overcome hard stuff.
How long have you been writing?
Over 50 years.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I danced. Joy. Lightness. But also a little fear because I exposed truths about myself and what I have survived. My first, second, and third books, The Patience Trilogy (Courage, Hope, and Truth), were inspired by my own recovery journey from Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) I wrote them over the span of the six years I was in intensive therapy. At first, I was not ready to reveal myself as being the inspiration for Ashley's character, and my publisher said I was inspired by a student I knew. But survivors of CSA knew better; they could tell that I have walked the path they tread. When the response to the book was supportive and loving and overwhelmingly positive, I revealed my truth, and I've never looked back or regretted it for a moment.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
The glacial pace at which traditional publishing moves, and the mercurial nature of trends that cause agents and editors to reject meaningful work.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Tell the truth and don't stop. Ask for help and don't stop. And know that there is always hope.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I do read them, and the bad ones used to bother me more than they do now. The most memorable negative review I've ever had contained falsehoods about plot elements, revealing that the person had not even read the book prior to trashing it.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Of course I'm human, so positive affirmation feels great!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
It's what I DO.
Find the Moon, my most recent novel, was the most difficult I have written because in some ways it is the least autobiographical; on the other hand, I share a LOT of Kylie's grandma's characteristics. She was a trip to write.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love connecting with readers. I have many long-time online friends who started out as readers and became friends, too.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Chris Crutcher is the reason I became an author. It was in reading his book STAYING FAT FOR SARAH BYRNES that showed me that there is a place in the world for the stories I want to tell, and that I do tell, now. Chris' assessment of FIND THE MOON was so gratifying!
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
All authors see elements of their books they'd rewrite if they could. I did a pretty heavy revision of COURAGE IN PATIENCE, my first book, when I released it, HOPE IN PATIENCE, and TRUTH IN PATIENCE under my own label, Steady On Books, in 2016.