What inspired you to write your first book?
When I was a junior in college, I took an advanced fiction writing class. The semester project was to write a novella. It really helped to have such a structured environment for my first attempt at longer fiction because I couldn’t get lazy. I had hard deadlines that I had to meet because my grade depended on me getting things done on time. Plus, the feedback I got from my professor and my classmates was invaluable. Part of my dedication is to that class.
What book are you currently reading?
Right now, I’m on book 11 of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I read the earlier books rather quickly, but the farther into the series I get, the more cumbersome I find the books. I just finished The Deepest Blue by Kim Williams Justesen which is a Young Adult novel. I loved it.
What books have most influenced your life the most?
The one book I’ve read more than any other is Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. I’ve probably read it at least 50 times. I think what keeps pulling me back to it is the emotion it draws out of me. Every time I read it, I have that same intense emotional response in spite of knowing how everything plays out. I hope that someday I am able to evoke that same type of emotion in my readers.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
This is a hard one. There are several that I admire. I think if I had to choose only one, it
would be Sidney Sheldon. He wrote novels but he also wrote for television and he had an amazing career. I’ve read several of his books more than once.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was not getting overwhelmed. Thinking about a book as a whole can be very intimidating. Once I broke it down into individual chapters, it was manageable and it stopped being so frightening. I knew what I needed to accomplish in each chapter and I knew where the story needed to end up, so it was just a matter of putting the pieces together.
How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
Honestly, I haven’t received a bad review yet. I do know that one is coming, though. I won’t lie and say that it won’t upset me a little. I put a lot of me into my writing and it’ll hurt when someone doesn’t like it, but I know that you can’t have everyone like what you do. Statistically, it’s impossible. I’m ok with that. I never respond to reviews, either positive or negative. People will feel how they feel about the book and that doesn’t require anything from me.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve been obsessed with language ever since I first learned how to read. I didn’t start crafting with it until I was 12, though. I started out with poetry. It wasn’t until college that I started writing fiction. I tend to keep things to a minimum and use a lot of lyrical language because of my poetry background.
What's the worst job you've had?
I worked as a shipping clerk one summer. That job sucked the soul out of me through a bendy straw. It wasn’t the job itself, but there was no organization in the workplace and things changed pretty quickly from one day to the next.
Typewriter or computer?
Computer. Whenever I tried to use a typewriter, I ended up sticking the keys together. And I
make way too many typos.
Ballpoint, univalve, or fountain pen?
I would love to have a nice fountain pen. Right now, I usually use whatever I can grab. If it writes in purple ink, that’s a bonus.
What's more important: characters or plot?
I don’t think this is an either/or type of thing. If you don’t have well-developed characters and a plausible and well-worked plot, your story is going to fall flat. It’s kind of like asking “food or water.” Sure, you can last longer on one than the other, but at the end of it all, you’re still dead. Like your story.
Can you describe the mundane details of writing: how many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a computer?
I am a lazy writer. If I don’t have deadlines to meet, I get lax on writing. I also need quiet and that’s not something I get too much of at the moment. I have the attention span of a gnat, and if there is anything going on around me, I will pay attention to that instead of what I’m supposed to be doing. I don’t limit myself when I am productive, though. If the writing is flowing, I’ll write until it stops. I am trying to work on this, though, and I’d like to devote a minimum of an hour a day to writing and longer if it’s flowing for me.
I guess you could say that I do a hybrid of drafting on paper and a computer. I almost always outline on paper. I make notes in the margins, cross some things out, and draw arrows to other things. I may or may not transcribe those into Word. I will also use Tarot cards sometimes when I get stuck on something and those I always do on paper and then transcribe them for easier access. When it comes to the actual writing, though, I almost always do that on the computer. The exception is when I do writing exercises about my current project. Sometimes I work on paper and if I like what I’ve got, I’ll put it into the draft.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a dancer. I still love to dance, even if I look like a wounded duck when I do it. I also wanted to be a singer, and while I do perform on occasion, it’s something I do for the love and not for a career. I never really considered writing as a career when I was growing up because I didn’t have confidence that I could do it.
What are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m working on a novel entitled “Enraptured.” It’s the story of a small town church pastor who has predicted The Rapture. His congregation makes their preparations and on the chosen date, a little girl goes missing. The pastor thinks she’s been Raptured, but has she?
Any last thoughts for your readers?
Read. It doesn’t matter what you’re reading, as long as you read. Read new releases. Read the classics. Read things hundreds of years old. Take the time to realize that written language transcends time and place. The words you read could be from someone long dead, and yet there they are telling you their story. It fills me with awe and it inspires me to do what I do.