Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I am a writer. I have always been a story-teller. It’s a family tradition. I remember my grandmother as the queen of pithy comments who served putdowns at her Sunday dinners, along with her pot roast. Grandma never swore. It wasn’t ladylike, but insulting someone’s intelligence, morality, behavior, manners and children or mate was an art form. Grandma ran the Pine Tree Tavern below First Avenue in downtown Seattle, a very unsavory part of the city. She kept a “cuss jar” for her clientele. Funds collected from the foul language paid for the annual Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas party at the bar, while the leftover money went to Children’s Hospital in Seattle.
What makes writing your passion?
Grandma’s love of language was the legacy she passed on to me. As she told me more than once, “Your words have power. Use it wisely. Don’t shout when a whisper will do.” So, when I chose a pen name for my romances, I opted for part of hers as a tribute. Josie Malone. When people ask what I do, I say, “I’m a writer. Telling stories is a family tradition. I just write down mine.”
How long have you been writing?
I started writing down Grandma’s stories as a young teen although I knew nothing about the techniques or mechanics of what would become my passion. Most listeners, my parents, my aunts, uncles, cousins squirmed at her turn of a phrase. I always admired Grandma’s use of language. When I graduated from high school, I was determined to be a writer. My creative writing teacher had told me I had talent and suggested college. I came from a poor, single-parent household, and higher education wasn’t possible. No one in our extended family had ever attended college. The girls got married and the boys went to work.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I write about girls and women who do things. In My Sweet Haunt, the first book in the Baker City Hearts and Haunts series, Cat McTavish doesn’t wait to be rescued from a bad marriage. She saves herself and her twin daughters when she moves to a dilapidated guest or dude ranch. Granted, she doesn’t expect to find a ghost, much less be able to talk to him, but Rob Williams was so much fun. How could I resist him?
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
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?
Don’t quit! Everybody knows a ton of clichés on the subject from “You’re never given a dream, without being given the power to make it come true,” to “Write from the heart if you want it to work.” Okay, the last one is mine –I tweaked it from a country song. However, I really believe it. There are so many options now for writers and much fewer limits. If you are determined to be a writer, then write. Study your craft and rewrite. Do your best and you will sell if you don’t quit!”
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I always compare myself to the latest heroine in my current Work In Progress or WIP. Right now, it’s Debbie Ramsey who knows, “You don’t say whoa on a go-ahead show.” That’s a Baker City saying that means never stop in the middle of a problem. Push through until the end. She’s a survivor and while she must deal with her past to have a future with Rex, she’s ready. My grandfather used to tell me that winners get up one more time when life knocks them down and losers lie on the floor and snivel. He always expected me to get up and I still follow that advice. I loosely base my characters on me, it isn't really my intention but I believe a little piece of me is in each of them.
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?
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I love reading Louis L’Amour westerns and collect them in the brown vinyl that is supposed to look like leather. No, I don’t have all of them, but I keep watching for them online, in second-hand stores, thrift shops and the antique stores in Snohomish, Washington. Granted, most of my shopping trips took place prior to Covid-19, but I’ll be thrilled when I can go shopping in person again.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?