Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
A bit later in life, I decided to fulfill a long-held dream to write novels. I began in 2008 and in 2010 published "Currents Deep and Deadly," the first book in the Darcy Farthing Series.
What makes writing your passion?
I've been an avid reader all my life and especially enjoy mystery and crime stories. At a very young age, my reading led to the idea that perhaps I could come up with compelling stories, become a published author, and work from wherever I found myself. The appeal of this lifestyle never left me even though I did not act on it for many years. I love creating characters and dialogue and making them as honest and realistic as possible.
How long have you been writing?
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Definitely an elated feeling of accomplishment, although I subsequently re-edited and republished the first book to make improvements.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
This is a difficult question. It seems that Darcy and the rest of the series characters somehow evolved themselves. Darcy has a small component of a person I knew many years ago, but the rest simply represent different elements of human diversity including good and evil characteristics.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
For me, it has been the enormous competition in my chosen genre and difficulty reaching enough readers to feel that the books are truly successful.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
Writer's block has not been much of a problem for me. My many years working as a government analyst/researcher taught me the value of brainstorming a free flow of ideas. Invariably, one or more of these ideas trigger my story and character development.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I've definitely slowed down my writing lately to concentrate on marketing the books I've published. I don't like to give advice, but I agree with those who say you should write for yourself, not worry too much about genre, and not expect to get rich from the effort.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Don't wait. Start writing now!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I do read reviews. I've had only a few that were less than satisfying. I take criticism as a lesson for future writing. If one person felt that way, then others might as well. On the other hand, I think a writer should weigh the overall response to the book and not worry about a few outliers.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Great satisfaction that my efforts are appreciated and the story and characters resonate with readers.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
I have incorporated a few personal things that happened to people I know. However, the whole cruising venue that underpins three of the books came directly from my own travel experiences aboard cruise ships.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
None of the characters are like me physically or emotionally, but the humanist philosophy of the main character, Darcy, and her honest and fearless approach to life are attributes I admire. In that, she is perhaps a sort of alter ego.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Actually, I do not think the cover is as important as the story and I adhere to the adage "don't judge a book by its cover." I read many books by well-known authors that do not have a compelling cover. However, in the world of self-publishing, I think the idea that one must attract readers with a flashy cover has taken hold to the point where competition for the most colorful and creative cover can distract from attention to the value and quality of stories. I think this reality is one of the artifacts of on-line marketing and digital communication.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I used to do many book signings in Barnes and Noble stores and aboard cruise ships. I very much enjoyed talking to people about my books and many other topics whether they bought the books or not. I can be very extroverted for relatively short periods of time but revert to a more introverted style for writing, where I enjoy many hours of solitude.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I've not gotten to the point where I'm "recognized" for my writing. When people tell me they loved a book and it is obvious they appreciate the work, it is the best feeling ever!
Who is your favorite author? Why?
There are many, but Diana Gabaldon and Anne Rice stand out. This is a little odd because I don't have any desire to write about supernatural events. I just believe the research and effort they put into their work and the quality of writing is outstanding. James Michener is also a favorite again because of his enormous historical research efforts. My gauge is that while reading, I could not put down their books and I learned something new.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I do not have that kind of dream because I am too much of a realist. My dream now is that I could sell enough books to recoup my sizable investment in writing, publishing, and marketing.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I have heavily edited with some rewriting, the first two books in the series, and republished them on Amazon. I believe they are improved and as a bonus they are offered at a lower price.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Not interested in switching places with anyone.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
I haven't really experienced this, but sadly it is the behavior we have to accept as part of the Internet age, not just with books, but with all information.
What would you say to your readers?
I greatly appreciate all of you who found Darcy Farthing and her odd bunch of associates and feel you benefited from the reading in some way. I'm eternally grateful to anyone who purchases my books.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
My home is in Colorado Springs where I live with my husband. Our two sons and their wives also live in the western U.S.
What is your day job if you have one?
I retired from my career with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2002, then started a fine silver jewelry design business and owned a small boutique. When I finally began the first book in 2008, I gave up those endeavors to concentrate on writing.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love reading and hiking the trails in the foothills near our home in Colorado. I also love collecting artwork when possible and am interested in home decor. Fitness and health have always been of great interest to me and I work out in a gym whenever possible. The current situation with Covid-19 has curtailed our usual amount of interacting with friends and eating out. We spend much more time together working on puzzles, playing cards, and cooking. I am very grateful to have a safe and pleasant place to spend this odd time. This too shall pass, but none of us know what the new normal will be.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I would have to say extremely so. There is a rather idyllic picture of home life in the 1950s that was not a reality for many families. For me, however, it really was. My parents were loving and stable with no serious issues. They allowed me the freedom to explore the world and learn from mistakes. I do not remember being unhappy.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
When we started cruising as our main mode of tourism, I thought the environment and travel locations were a starting point for developing a novel. This spurred me to finally begin to fulfill that life-long dream.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
No, but I have a number of outlines for very diverse stories that I haven't yet developed. One is a dystopian story of how the western US will become a wasteland when the water finally runs out. Another is a family story covering several generations loosely based on very disturbing experiences of some of my relatives who also immigrated from the UK. Another is a retelling of the Biblical Jesus in a historical novel without any supernatural elements. Yet another is about a cult living in the Florida everglades slaughtering endangered panthers and kidnapping victims for their religious rituals.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
More money needs to be spent on teachers' salaries. Children need to be exposed to books and reading from infancy and that would require early learning programs to fill gaps left by parents who are unable to do so. Education needs to focus on the scientific method of inquiry in all subjects--not just for scientists. That is a skeptical open-minded approach to learning to instill an appreciation for the value of and difference between knowledge and belief.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
Two lofty wishes.
The entire world would come together in a project to save the planet and humanity from the looming threat of climate change.
The separation of people by artificial barriers like race and ethnicity would go the way of witch-hunting and demon-caused disease eventually becoming examples of unenlightened mistakes of the past.
What is your favorite music?
Share a secret with us 🙂
About twenty years ago, I wrote a number of songs and hired a studio to help with musical arrangements and recordings. They weren't very good, but I loved the effort!