Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
Like many authors, I began as soon as I could write. Even before I had written language, I doodled my feelings and thoughts. I don't remember life without the synthesis of writing and processing life through personal expression.
What makes writing your passion?
I am compelled to do it and I love the process. It is such a part of me that it is like breathing. And if I write something, and it touches another human, I am gratified more than any other aspect of my life.
How long have you been writing?
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Relief, satisfaction. But when the first Author Proofs arrived, bound, solid, in my hand, the fulfillment of a lifelong passion, I was overwhelmed with joy.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I have known all these people. Parts of them. Literally, metaphorically, in some way, I know every one of them. I choose them based on the need of the story I am telling. Sometimes they reappear in a slightly different persona in more than one story. The heroes, the villains, the teachers and the challenges.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I struggle with the marketing aspects of being an author. When it is time to promote and sell the books, it is a challenge. This enables me to continue to learn and grow. It pushes me to become more than I am and that is a good thing.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
Write. If I don't know what to write, I write about what that feels like. It can be frustrating, frightening, whatever thoughts and feelings it evokes, I write that down along with the voices in my head, the stresses or the diversions, the avoidance.... whatever, I write about it and somewhere in that process, I strike a vein of valuable narrative and use it, launch from it, be inspired by it..... or I end the day, put it away and start again tomorrow.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Write. Find inspiration where you find it but write and then read. I read what I write as much as I write things. I read it over and over until it is exciting to read. If you don't like reading your own work, then continue to pursue your path until you do. It is better if you do not need to be paid to write. I waited until I retired. The advantage was twofold. One I didn't need to write to earn a living. Second, I had a library of material to draw from and enrich my stories.... oh and I have stories! But if you cannot do that, be patient with the process. There are very few over night successes... if any at all.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Be true to your inner voice and believe and trust yourself!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes. I remember that no book is universally loved. Every author has critics. And some readers just enjoy spewing negative feedback. I listen. Determine if there is learning there for me. If so, I incorporate it gratefully. If not, I put it out of my mind. It is hard sometimes.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Gratification and appreciation. Nothing is more rewarding.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Sure. Everything I write about springs from my life experiences. There is a vast difference between imagining, even researching and actually drawing from genuine experience.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
There is part of me in every character. I am the one interpreting my perception of that character through my life experience and out onto the page. When I am writing a vilain, I allow myself to travel to that part of my being that comprehends that motivation, that outcome. I don't have to like it or endorse it, but I have to find it in myself to write it. If there is one character that I most identify with, it would be Izy.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I believe it sets the tone, it invites the reader in, it is compelling... or it is not or something in between. Yes the cover is vital and certainly is a part of my choosing process. If I have reviews, recommendations, or curiosity regarding the subject matter, I can overlook the cover. But if I am choosing cold, the cover is essential. There are just so many books to select.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I have been invited to book clubs that have read one of the books. I actually really enjoy that. I learn and grow from the process of that experience. At book signings or fairs, I am happy to talk to people who have read the books or a book. Probably not eager for in-depth discussions at those events because I want to be available to as many people as posssible. I have engaged in dialogue with individuals on my Facebook page and some people message me. The problem with that is the variety of individuals you encounter, and it is not always genuinely about the book(s) or the process. It can get personal and that backs me off a great deal.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Of course, I love to encounter someone who appreciates the books. I have been embarrassed when I don't know the person. It has only happened two times. It is definitely being put on the spot. Although I suppose that is my problem.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Too many to name.... and it goes way back in terms of the authors with which I have been enamored. James Mitchner long ago because he was a master at extended continuity and meaning. Arthur Conan Doyle because he could intrigue me with clues and mystery. Agatha Christy because she could too. Steinbeck for his conscience. Hemingway for grit. Harper Lee for empathy. More recently John Grisham because he is just a good story teller. Dan Brown because he is clever and thorough and can really suspend disbelief...... on and on.... there are so many!
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
What I want is a steady, faithful reader base. I don't want to be as big as anyone else at all. But I do want to grow my reader base!
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
No. In fact, once I publish them, I rarely go back and read them. My process of learning and growing continues. So, if I retold a story, it would always be a little different. I make a decision. It is done. I know that if I keep reading it I will keep iterating it. So, there is a point where that is it! And I let the bird out of my hands. It is what it is.