Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I've been writing my whole life, historically professionally in business, non-fiction, training manuals and advertising. I've written novels for the last ten years and published sixteen so far. Gold Lust Conspiracy is an award-winning historical romance. I've co-published two middle-grade children's mysteries with Harley Nelson. They are Freckle Face & Blondie and The Thinking Tree. The remainder are contemporary romantic mysteries set in Kentucky. God Father's Day, Madam Mom, 2nd Chance Ranch and Hart's Girls are stand alone mysteries and The Bloodline Series consists of ten small-town mysteries so far, from Parsley, Sage, Rose Mary & Wine to The Bourbon Trail.
What makes writing your passion?
It's in my blood. I've enjoyed books since I was four and learned to read at my grandfather's side. I consume them like air and dream of characters and scenes as I drift off to sleep nights. A day isn't complete without hours spent at my computer putting them on pages.
How long have you been writing?
Professionally writing novels for ten years, but writing my whole life.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Holding my first published book in my hands was like nothing else I've accomplished, and I've led a fascinating life. It was a dream come true and gave me confidence I was on the right track.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I grew up in Northern Kentucky when the Cleveland Mob ruled in Newport, and it was a mecca for sin and gambling, until the late 1970's when the FBI shut down the Mob in the Top 5 Cities--Newport being one of them. A fascination for how history effects today's world fuels my stories. The setting for my stories is a rural, horse farming community similar to where I live. Characters are figments of my imagination.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
The ever-changing industry sometimes feels like one is shooting at moving targets, which is a sport to be enjoyed but a difficult skill to learn. Amazing authors struggle for notice, and that's frustrating. Marketing is my background, but it's the part of the business I dislike the most, because it takes time I'd rather be writing. Meeting and getting to know readers is my favorite part of being an author.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I've never experienced it. Ideas are all around me, and prioritizing what get's attention first is a challenge.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Voices in my head telling me stories that want to be on the page keep me awake nights. They'd never let me sleep, if I didn't agree to write them. Advice: Learn your craft--continually training. Find your tribe and learn from them. Put your butt in the chair and hands on the keyboard every day. Develop a thick skin. Enjoy the journey.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Believe you can do it. Don't let anything stop you.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Feedback is a gift. I read every review and appreciate readers attention and time spent on my books. I try to glean some learning from criticism given in good faith. Criticism for the sake of cruelty is to be ignored.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Complete elation. It's the cherry on top of a hot fudge sundae.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Of course, many times. Sometimes I make it turn out differently.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I think Lemon Sage Benton from Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary & Wine combined with FBI Special Agent Reggie Casse are fairly close to the way I see myself. Reggie is in many of my books, but she's the heroine in my latest publication, Hart's Girls, where she teams up with U. S. Marshal Shae Montgomery to take on human trafficking.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I'm a reader first and foremost, and since the cover is what speaks to me first, I see it's utmost importance. It must have stopping power, or the blurb and story never get a reader's attention.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
Absolutely. I love meeting and chatting online with readers. It's one of the great joys of being a published author.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Firstly, I'm always shocked when someone says, "I've heard of you," or, "I read that book." Thrill sets in and I try to make a lasting impression and get to know the reader.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Janet Evanovich is my all-time favorite author. Next to her, Debbie MacComber. Janet owes me big. I've embarrassed myself on a full plane many times when I crack up out loud, totally out of control, from reading her books. I'm a Stephanie Plum fan. I've read many amazing authors however, that are not as well known. Just a few: Jana DeLeon, Joanne Fluke, Tari Lynn Jewett and Vicki Batman. There are too many amazing authors out there to list them all.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I'd love to see my books in film and know thousands of readers are enjoying them on film, in print, audiobook and ebook. I'm not a competitive person but want my work to be considered significant. I want to know it helps people in some way.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I have rewritten a couple of them, only because I've perfected skills as time has gone by. I love them all and have no desire to rewrite them when so many wait their turn to be written.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I like being me. I wouldn't change what I enjoy to be someone else.
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 feel sorry for those to need to hurt others in order to feel better about themselves.
What would you say to your readers?
I love you and appreciate you more than you can imagine. Stay in touch. I hope we become lifelong friends. Become a VIP at the link below.
Love is a dangerous mystery. Enjoy the ride!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
Hunky hubby is the hero of my life story. We have produced two amazing adults, and both are married to incredible people. They had the nerve to grow up on us, but in exchange provided us three awesome grandchildren. Our rural Kentucky horse country sits between Cincinnati, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky. We share it with small herd of horses, a wacky donkey and a cat that believes she's a dog. Whatever critter wanders in gets fed, so the animal community on the farm changes from day to day.
What is your day job if you have one?
For the last ten years, I am a full-time author. I retired from a corporate career in Marketing and Global Transportation for a Fortune 500 Company. I retired from a thirty-four year career in real estate and sold securities, insurance and mortgages. Guess you can tell, I'm a workaholic.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love to read, walk, fish, swim, boat, travel and play with my grandchildren.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Absolutely. We were very poor. I was born in Appalachian Kentucky, the daughter of a coal miner and part-Cherokee. We moved to the city so my dad could make a living. I grew up in Northern Kentucky when Newport was a mecca for sin and gambling, and ruled by the Cleveland Mob. In the mountains I was free to roam the hills at will. City life was different and meant leaving my grandparents, which was traumatic for me, but I adjusted well. We never had much, but I didn't know any better and was happy as a lark. My father did instill in me that I could do and be anything I wanted, and told me to dream big. I believed him, since he was the smartest person I knew. So I did, and he was right.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
I read Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott when I was four after learning to read the Bible with my grandfather at four. I loved the book and aspired to become a writer. I wanted to put awesome stories like that onto pages, so others could feel the way her writing made me feel.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
Yes, I'm working on a couple of how-to books, a cookbook and a couple of new mysteries. They're all in different stages.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
I'm not as in touch with the education system as I was when my children were young. From what I've seen, they're doing a good job. My grandchildren love books and are avid readers. My granddaughter, Harley Nelson. is co-author of two of my books, the middle-grade mysteries, Freckle Face & Blondie and The Thinking Tree. My youngest grandson, at four-years old, enjoys being read to. I read to my kids, and believe it helps them in everything they do in the future.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
The world would be safe to travel in again.
My grandchildren will grow up to be happy and healthy.
I will live and be strong and healthy enough to see their grandchildren.
What is your favorite music?
I enjoy many types of music, especially country and 1950-1980 rock-n-roll. It was a thrilling period of music creativity, which seems to be lacking more these days. Everything starts to sound the same.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I'm not big on secrets and don't have many. I'm pretty much an open book.