Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I wrote my first book in the third grade. It was called A Kids Guide to King Tut. I had been to the exhibit at the Smithsonian and was fascinated by what I saw. I talked about it so much, the school librarian encouraged me to write a book. I still remember the yellow nylon material we used to cover the cardboard cover and the smell of the rubber cement. Oh, and I drew the pyramids on the front with a black marker.
What makes writing your passion?
I love the journey as the story goes from my imagination to my fingers as I type. Writing brings joy. (It also brings intense frustration too!)
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing fiction since 2021; however, I drafted some fantastic memos for thirty years in corporate America.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
When I pressed the button to self-publish the first book in the Kennedy Reeves series, I felt a mixture of pride and terror. To put a novel out there for the world, but most especially for your colleagues, friends, and family to read, critique, and wonder where it came from, is like walking naked down Main Street.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I love the little band of gypsies who work and live on the Helio, and they are a mixture of the people I have been fortunate enough to work with over the years. Kennedy, our main character, is similar to many of the talented and creative women I know in the hospitality industry. She's a people pleaser who takes on too much and doesn't know how to say the word, no.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
It hurts when you tell people you are self-published. I chose that path because it was the right fit for me at the time. I had two great stories I wanted to get into the hands of the world. I didn't want to wait to find an agent and then hope that a publisher would take my work on. However, I find that when you tell people you are self-published, they look down on you.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I walk. I find that putting one foot in front of the other quiets my brain. It's a little like jump-starting a car on a bitter winter morning. I carry a recorder with me in case something exciting pops into my brain because once you get two miles down the beach, there isn't an Uber to pick you up so you can get back to writing.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Choosing to be an author is not easy by any means, but having a story begging to have a voice is tougher. It can drive you a little mad. Let the story out - give it a voice that can be heard whether a whisper or a shout. Feel the corners of your mouth lift as that silly grin comes across your face as you write. Persevere and be your own advocate. No one else will write the story the way you will.
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?
If I'm honest, they hurt. But I also try to remember it's one person's opinion, and I can't please everyone. I may wear something and believe I am rocking it. But someone else may look at it and think, "Oh, really? That's what you chose?" They may mention it to someone else, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that I felt good about myself. I've poured my heart and soul into my characters and my stories, and I'm proud of them. I also try to remember that there could be other catalysts in that reviewer's life. Perhaps my book wasn't the right time or place for them. Maybe they had a fight with their boss or their spouse. Maybe someone was overly critical of them that day, and they need an outlet to lash out at.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Oh, now THAT is another thing altogether. I do the happy dance. Arms up in the air doing the shimmy. I feel like Sally Field at the Oscars and the box of Life cereal when Mikey eats it.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
I'm smiling at this question. I wish you could see my face. Yes, all of the dates Kennedy goes on happened at some point in my life. I'll just leave it there. (Wink wink)
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
There is a little bit of me in all of my characters. It's how I have characters that my readers can relate to. They are far from perfect. They are klutzy, they open themselves up to love and get hurt, and they have a pocketful of sarcasm ready to unleash whenever the opportunity presents itself. They are messy, overly organized, get aggravated with their mother, humble themselves when they need to, and roll their eyes at their job. They are the people I would drink a glass of wine with.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Something has to grab the reader's attention as they scroll online or walk the shelves of a bookstore or library. It's my hope that the simplicity, color, and tiniest bit of intrigue cause a bit of curiosity.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love talking to my readers! I wish they would talk more! If someone is going to invest in my books with their time, emotions, and money, I want to hear from them. At the end of book two, I had some upset people, and they made sure to tell me they didn't like the ending. But you know what? They also read book three to see what happened next.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
To quote Jimmy Buffet, "It's a magic kind of medicine, that no doctor could prescribe."
Who is your favorite author? Why?
The late Pat Conroy. His books are art. Somehow, he combines poetry, music, and painting in his novels.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Oh goodness, I'd like to be as effortlessly cool as Janet Evanovich. I'd love to see my books become a series. I think the characters are outrageous enough that, with some tweaking, we could have some fun.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
Well, I should rewrite that Kid's Guide to King Tut. There is always room for improvement, a tweak here or there, but I won't rewrite.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
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.
Aw, bless your heart. Did you have a difficult day, or did those bangs just not work out the way you thought they would? Let's go get some tacos and a margarita, and you can tell me all about it.
What would you say to your readers?
Stick with me, kids. There are about ten books in the series, and I'm writing number four as fast as I can.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
My husband, our wonderful dog Elvis, and I are ex-pats in a sleepy little beach town in Panama.
What is your day job if you have one?
I suppose my day job is being at the beck and call of our eleven-pound rescue who doesn't quite understand that she's a dog. She believes she's a sixty-year-old, martini-swilling socialite. If you've met the character Vera in my books, well, now you know where the character came from.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I read voraciously. I spend about an hour each morning before I roll out of bed with my Kindle. It helps me ease into the day and starts the creative juices flowing.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I had a very carefree 1970s childhood. Life was simple, and growing up on military bases, we were watched over by everyone and lived in a real melting pot of ethnicities. We drank from hoses and stayed outside until the streetlights came on. (In fact, our mothers encouraged it!) We found out what each other was having for dinner to see where we wanted to eat, we rode our bikes everywhere and ran errands for our mothers, we played war (it's what military kids do) and explored the woods, and when it got really hot, we walked to the library to enjoy the air-conditioning and quiet. As you can see, it was very a very stressful childhood.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
There was a day when a man slammed his hand down on a conference room table. It had happened many times before, but for some reason, that day, the story started in my head.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
Not yet. But I have an idea that I'm going to explore after I finish book four in the Kennedy Reeves series. The main character likes to poke my brain in the middle of the night, asking when we will get started.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
I think we need to teach our kids to dream and imagine. Adulting is hard enough if we don't take the time to press the relief valve and dream.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
What is your favorite music?
I love all music but especially beach music. There is something about it that makes my feet want to dance in the sand.
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