Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I've always been a writer since I was a kid. I never became serious about it until 2007 when I joined a writing group. Then I won a writing contest and had a publisher print my first novella in 2012.
What makes writing your passion?
It's a part of me like my heart beating. A day without writing makes me cranky!
How long have you been writing?
Forever and ever! I still have stories in my files I wrote when I was a kid.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I was thrilled! It was something that felt so right and spurred me on to write 10 more. Every time I receive a box full of MY new books, I relive that same excitement!
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My characters come to me organically, which means I rarely ever base them on people I've met or know. I have had "guest" characters who have won the opportunity to appear in one of my books. I've also been inspired by people I have met or saw in my day to day travels.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
1. Not everyone takes writing seriously as a career.
2. That it is so easy for anyone to be published no matter how badly edited the book is if it's edited at all! It makes the rest of us look bad!
Writing, publishing, and marketing are tough jobs! They take a lot of energy and time. To have people discount that energy and time by wanting cheap or free books all the time is frustrating.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I rarely get writer's block. I do get burned out and have to take a break!
Going for walks, or switching gears to do something else (house cleaning, a puzzle, watching television for a while) all help rest your conscious mind so your subconscious can process what it is you were working on. Or will help you come up with a great new idea.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Learn your craft!
Listen to people who have published multiple books! Chances are they've made a lot of the same mistakes you are and can be great mentors!
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Keep writing and don't listen to the people who tell you to give up or are always critical.
Stick with the writing classes.
Believe in YOU!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Sometimes I read reviews, but I keep in mind that sometimes the bad ones can be just as helpful to potential readers. I had one person tell me they hated my characters - yet they related to my main character who was going through a messy divorce.
Sometimes the 3 star reviews are just as helpful than the 5 star ones because they will give you the good and the bad. I had someone read my newest mystery and was disappointed only that there was no romance in it.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Over the moon, of course! It's great to hear that someone loved your work and looks forward to reading more!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes. A few times, but always veiled and exaggerated for effect.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
My kids have called me Gilda ever since Dead Without Honor came out. Like my character Gilda Wright, I worked in a karate school as a receptionist. She started off loosely based on me but has grown and gone her own direction.
Where I had to stop practicing karate due to health issues, she has continued and in the next book, will be going for her black belt!
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
YES!! I've seen horrible covers that don't tell you anything about the book and look like text books. Covers that I wouldn't bother to read what the book is about.
Truth be told, people DO judge the book by its cover. It's natural. If the cover doesn't fit the blurb, or the book, your reader won't be back.
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 chatting with readers! I've even had people contact me to offer suggestions about advertising and ideas for future books.
Certainly I express myself better through writing than I do verbally, I think most writers do.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I'm lucky to live in a small town and have run into many people who have seen me live at events and have read my books. I also love having friends and family who can't wait for my next novel to be published! That makes my day!
The best one I've had so far was when I had to call someone for my day job and as soon as I told him who I was his next sentence was, "The writer?"
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Oh wow. That's tough.
I currently offer space on my blog to other writers and share interviews about them. Sometimes they will send me copies of their books to read as well. I'm swamped!
Lillian Jackson Braun was my first favorite cozy writer. I loved the Siamese cats Koko and Yum-Yum.
Joanne Fluke who writes the Hannah Swensen Mysteries that are now television shows.
Janet Evanovich for helping me to see I can become a writer. She was my inspiration for striving a bit harder.
I love Stephen King for his "On Writing" book.
My new favorite is a debut author in the UK, Victoria Dowd and I am constantly finding new favorites!
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Bestseller lists and being able to write full time!
Lillian Jackson Braun would be my ideal, or Joanne Fluke.
I think fame like J.K. Rowling would be too much for me. Low-key yet well-known is a good place.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
Maybe. As I write more books, I grow as an author and will probably look back and want to fix things that I've learned to do differently since I first wrote them.
As they say hindsight is 20/20. Things we were happy with ten years ago, may look different to us as we get older and more experienced.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I'm not sure I'd switch places with anyone. Maybe Janet Evanovich for having such a big following - and an assistant!
It would be lovely to be able to focus more on writing than on all the other incidentals like marketing and setting up speaking engagements!