Tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.
A little bit? You do realize I’m an author, right? EVERYTHING is a story! LOL I’m glad you didn’t ask where I was raised because we moved a LOT! I now live in the upstate of South Carolina. My kids are grown so it’s just me and my kitty babies in the house. One of my grand-girls lives across the street, though, and that’s a delightful treat to see her and her mom (my daughter) so often.
Besides writing, I sing and play the piano, I paint and draw, and I act – you should hear my British accent! I love to work in the yard and I love to bake. My degree is in Interior Design, but my passion is my stories and writing them!
I am on Disability for RA, which slows me down, but I refuse to let it win! I call it the “Dubious Luxury,” because I “get to” stay home and write!
Is your favorite genre to read the same as what you like to write?
Not really. My favorite-favorite is Biblical historical fiction. My last series (Seasons) was historical fiction (1912 and 1913) but I’m not locked into an era; I write what the story needs. (My next series, The Steppe House, will be a noir type story, a la Agatha Christie, and set it the 1940’s.) I haven’t had a story that is set in Bible times introduce itself to me – yet…
Who’s your favorite author?
To quote Tosca Lee when I interviewed her four years ago, “Dude, I have a lot of author friends. Are you trying to get me killed?” LOL
I mentioned Dame Christie above, and she is at the top of my list; it was while reading Murder on the Nile that my mind first considered how to write! (In this case, the crime had to come first even though it was much later in the book; THEN the discovery of the crime scene, and investigation… )
My other favorite is Maeve Binchy. I suffered crippling depression for most of my life until my late 30’s. Ms. Binchy’s Glass Lake was the first book I read – was able to read – as I was overcoming that depression. It marks a milestone for me and placed her forever on my favorite author list.
What age did you realize you loved books and when did you start writing?
I’ve loved books and reading / being read to for as long as I can remember. My mother was an avid read, and also an author, though never published. I’ve always had stories roaming around in my mind, and I distinctly remember thinking that I should write the ideas down so I could give them to someone to write… I had no idea at the time that someone was me!
I started writing in 1995 when I was going through therapy for the aforementioned depression. That story (mine) may or may not ever see publication. Fast forward to July of 2008. I was going for a walk when the opening to my first novel, Tessa, “came to me.” I got home and typed it, and the rest of the story followed. Interrupted by my time in college, I didn’t publish until 2014.
What advice would you give a new author?
Writing is not a solitary thing. Seek out other authors, bloggers and reviewers, even agents and publishers. Connect via social media and attend conferences. We are an amazing community of creatives, and we care about and support one another. Your style is your style. I thought I was “doing it wrong” because I don’t outline – I’m a “Pantzer” – coined from the term “by the seat of your pants.” I know the general idea of the story and the general idea of the ending, and I know the characters. Beyond that, I only know what happens as the characters, er, uh, tell me. Basically, I’m taking dictation! LOL
NOTE: Pantsing does not mean you don’t set up your story world! You have to pay attention to the tiny details – your readers sure will! I have more notes and details and characters than ever appear in the final story. But I know who they are if I need them! I also have a map of the town and surrounding area.
- You are unique. Your stories will be unlike any other author’s writing. Even in the same genre, or with the same trope, your story will be different because you are writing it.
- Don’t be afraid of critiques. Don’t skip editing. Don’t scrimp on cover design. Don’t forget to read-read-read, and read some more; in your genre and beyond your genre. Keep the stream of story flowing, even when you’re not at your keyboard. Stephen King says if you’re not reading, you’re not equipped to write.
- Do it. Write. Saw a quote again today, “You can edit bad writing. You can’t edit nothing.” It’s never too late to start!
What project are you working on now?
FourSquare. (working series name) First book is One for the Price of Two. Meredith and Elizabeth are so identical their parents can’t even tell them apart. Their identities are wrapped up in each other, and when tragedy strikes, they must discover if they are who they always thought they were.
One for Two will be releasing the end of May.
How do you feel writing has affected your relationship with God?
I believe Father God places gifts and strengths within each one of us, and writing is mine. Not in the sense that I feel superior because I’m carrying His message. Rather, I am humbled that something I love so dearly is, in fact, His passion and gift for me.
Several years ago, I pondered a praise song, All Creation Worships You. I was outdoors, walking around a small lake and wondered how the trees worshipped God. He whispered to me that they worship by being what He created them to be. And as an author, the act of writing is also worship – doing what He created me to do.
And worship draws us closer to Him, so…
Can you share with us a book you have read recently, are currently reading?
My blog has suffered over the past two years, but by the time this goes live, I’ll have my list of books I read in 2020 posted. Currently, as of today’s date, 5 January, I am reading The Mulberry Leaf Whispers by Linda Turner, a sweeping luxurious dual timeline (also a favorite) set in Japan.
Where do we find your books?