Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was thirteen but of course, it wasn't until my husband got tired of all the half-scribbled stories on yellow legal notepads that he gave me the go-ahead to pursue my dream professionally...about 15 years ago.
What makes writing your passion?
It's the ideas that come to me at odd hours. The characters in my head are passionate about needing to come to life. An author breathes that life into them...I love to see where they take me.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing, professionally now for 12 years. My first book, Wanted: One Ghost, was published in a small press (now gone) back in June of 2013. It's still one of my favorites and is part of my Crossroads of Kings Mill series.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Euphoric! I had succeeded in making a dream come true! To see my book in print, to hold that first copy in your hands...it's like having your first child.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I have two series that I write, right now. Crossroads of Kings Mill are based on historical ghosts (fictional of course). I love working with ghosts and metaphysical characters.
My other series, Guardians of Dacia are immortal shifters who are part of the folklore and legend of Romania in which I had reseached when I was looking up my ancestery on my father's side.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I still maintain a 8 hour a day job outside of my writing career. At the end of a day with that job, all I want to do is write! But being a self-published/Indie Author, you find out that there is so much more to do in order to maintain the business and marketing side of a writing career...it becomes overwhelming. That and pirating...I feel that a part of my hard work becomes forfit when I see my work floating around for free (without me having put it out there that way).
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
Writer's Block is subjective. I think we all have different terms for it. For me it had to do with stress (COVID-19, family life, outside job, ) but I think the part that hit me was focusing on 'just writing'. Characters become desperate and start acting up...or worse, fade into the background. But mostly it's me getting out--away from my keyboard and exercising (I love to walk/hike) and that's when they start coming back saying, "Hey, we are going to do this! Want to join us?" And that's when I know I'm ready for the next scene.
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 write for anyone else but you. When you know you have a story to tell, write it because YOU need to write it. It's theraputic at times. But once you've got a basis for a good plot and characters--go for it! There is always an audience out there, someone who feels and wants to read. It's never about the money or the fame...do it because it feels good to write--'the end' and know that you've written something no one else ever has. If it becomes a best seller--that's the buttercreme icing on an already sweet, delicious cake!
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Keep writing! It's thereaputic!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I do read my reviews. When I get them, they are like tiny tokens of inspiration. It means that someone took the time to sit and enjoy my book! The reviews I have gotten have been very good. But when I see some from other authors and all it says is, "It was bad" I want them to tell me why it was bad. Did they not like the characters? Was there something they personally didn't like? If so, what? If you don't like a particular subject or character, I want to know why so other readers can gain insight into the story. That is what a review is for. Don't just say it was 'good' or 'bad'. Tell me why!
As an author, I think we can use the good response to drive us and bad reviews (if given information as to why) can help us grow and learn what our readers are looking for. Do we need stronger characterization? Are we missing a black moment? Was the ending rushed? We as authors are always striving to bring more to our stories.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Again, hopefully they told me why they liked it. Or go into specifics about a character or scene. It's a personal feeling that I'm sharing with the reader/reviewer. It's that giddy, one-on-one moment of, "Yes! I'm so excited that you loved that part or liked that character!" It makes my day...and I go back to read my reviews when I need inspiration to get back in the saddle for the next book. I want to make another book for this person to enjoy!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
I always try to. That's all I'll say about that. It's kind of like that game, "Two Truths and a Lie". I'll let the reader guess. Or sometimes, I will mention it in an interview.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
(Laughing) Oh dear...there is always one of my minor characters that is 'Loni Lynne' but I'll save that for another interview.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
The book cover should convey what the story is. You want it to be a teaser, as much as the blurb. It should catch a readers eye. When I go into a book store if a cover catches my eye, I'm drawn to it. As a reader I tend to view: 1) Cover 2) Blurb 3) First paragraph...if all three intice my senses it's in my hands and on my next reading mission.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I've been to book events and signings in which I have sat on author panels, talked about my genre/characters/writing, etc. I love to hear what readers have to say and interact with them however I can. I want to know what they want and how they enjoyed our books. If they've read my book and have questions, I love talking to them. Not only that, it's a personal thing--an author and their reader, there's a special connection they share through that story or character.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I've only had it happen once. It was early on in my career. I was in a local bookstore and asking one of the owners/workers there if I could commission my books there. I told her who I was...she knew my books, had read them and loved them! She was so excited to meet me! It was that moment we shared in which she talked to me about the setting of the book, the character she fell in love with...she felt a connection to it and it made my heart soar!
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Oh wow! So many! I grew up on Poe and Dickens (yes, the classics) mixed in with Judy Blume. I fell in love with Anne Rice years ago, followed by the incredible Sherrilyn Kenyon (McQueen), Lynsay Sands, and others in the paranormal romance realm.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
The dream? Make USA Today or NYT. I would like to be as big as...what my readers decide. I want to make sure I reach every reader who wishes to read paranormal romance. I want to be associated with the genre and if I've made a name for my books to be considered with others, J.R. Ward, Sherrilyn, Lynsay...then I will be very grateful.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I am in the process of having re-edited Wanted: One Ghost and another in the series (Crossroads of Kings Mill) just because at the time I first wrote it, there were a few scenes that I didn't necessarily need to make the story, romance line work. Some prefer me to keep them in but others feel the story works without them. I would like both versions. But the one version would be for a more PG rating.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I don't believe in that. WE are who WE are. We make ourselves. We don't know how the others really live or the ordeals they go through.
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.
"If you don't have anything nice to say--don't say anything at all!" If they have that much time on their hands...they need to find something productive, not destructive.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I've lived in northern Maryland for almost thirty years now. I'm right in the heart of Civil War and Revolutionary War sites! (Gettysburg and Antietam are half an hour away.)
I've been married to a wonderful man for almost 35 years and have two daughters who are grown (and a granddaughter from one).
What is your day job if you have one?
I do have a day job. I'm an Executive/Administrative Assistant for a large organization.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I live close to many hiking trails and enjoy hiking in good weather. I love to write (duh), read and love family board games (Scrabble, Yahtzee, Monopoly, etc.) when the family gets together. And lately I LOVE playing with my 16 month old granddaughter! I have a feeling we are going to have some great times yet to come!
Did you have a happy childhood?
I lived in various places around the country. I was born and lived in North/Central Michigan (yes, I'm a troll for those from Michigan, you understand) but moved to five other states in the Midwest until I graduated outside of Dallas, Texas. We enjoyed a wide variety of things and had to do it without internet or cellphones! Yes, I'm that old!
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
When I was in the seventh grade my English teacher entered my 'horror story' into a local contest for the newspaper. I didn't think anything about it but I won two tickets to the haunted house for Halloween and a $50 Savings Bond.
Shortly thereafter I began writing because it helped me deal with life in general. I wrote what people now consider 'fan-fic' but what I considered, "how to make a sitcom or movie sequel".
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have some short stories that I am working on for a off-shoot to my Crossroads of Kings Mill series and a possible anthology of ghost stories based off of the main theme of 'Kings Mill'.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
I could write a book on this subject alone--but I won't. I do believe, having my daughters graduate high school and college, that they were unprepared for the 'real world' upon high school graduation. I think History/Science and Math are important, but I think budgeting, how to secure a decent job and how to prepare a meal are even more so. I was blessed to be able to teach them many things that a school education didn't, as I raised them, but still the real world can be a big step without the proper tools.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
1) This horrible pandemic (COVID) to be over for good!
2) For peace among each other here in our own country as well as abroad
3) For every generation to be able to find their comfortable and economic success.
What is your favorite music?
I was raised on Country Music/Classical piano and 40's Big Band (Thank you Mom and Dad). One of my first jobs as a teenager was as a radio DJ for a Country Music station in western Oklahoma (back when you had to have an FCC license).
Now, I listen to Pop, 80's Classic, Country from 80's and 90's, and Yacht Rock and they are all my generation! I'm ecclectic and it depends on my mood.
Share a secret with us 🙂
Shhh...don't let this out...I was born the year man first walked on the moon!! *GASP* (Yep...I'm THAT old!) LOL.