I am originally from Newport Beach, California, and have twenty years of experience writing fiction, nonfiction, and movie screenplays. My areas of expertise also includes film and media production, global strategy, and international marketing.
Britfield & The Lost Crown was conceived as an idea over 10 years ago while I was enduring a boring finance seminar. It started as a sketch of a hot air balloon with a young boy and girl trapped inside. From this simple drawing sprang the entire concept and story for Britfield.
I received a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature and European History from Brown University; did post- graduate work at Harvard University; earned an MBA from Boston College; and am pursuing a Master of Science in Advanced Management and a PhD in Strategy.
Now based in San Diego, I am a strong supporter of education and the arts. I enjoy world travel, reading, riding, swimming, sailing, tennis, and am currently on a National School Book Tour with Britfield & The Lost Crown speaking to students on the importance of creativity!
What inspires you to write?
I have always been creative. I loved reading as a child, movies and storytelling, so all these areas had a huge influence on my life. Some of my favorite books growing up were The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary; James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl; and the Hardy Boys series. As I grew older, I enjoyed Charles Dickens and his ability to take a Shakespearean cast of characters and seamlessly weave them through his stories (Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations). I was heavily influenced by C. S. Lewis, his amazing depth and creativity as an author. Jane Austen captured the aristocracy, the intrigue, the forced etiquette and the psychological games and hypocrisies of the upper classes. The Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, wrote mysterious, romantic gothic novels that are powerful, moving and deep, such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Thomas Hardy took simple characters living in a rural setting and created complex, multilayered stories. And Daphne du Maurier, such as her epic novel Rebecca. I have visited most of the places these stories took place or were based on.
With all that said, it really started for me in 6th grade. What a wonderful teacher and an amazing class. Our assignment was to write a book. Can you imagine an assignment like that, where do you start? I think there was a limit of 30 pages. I was 12 and loved the James Bond movies, so I wrote James Bond Eat Your Heart Out. I was a secret government agent working for the British government and had an assignment to track down a notorious villain. My partner was Jaclyn Smith (that should date me). We traveled all around Europe tracking down the villain and were involved in high-speed chases and plenty of combat. I had so much fun writing this and the experience never left me. I still have this book, wrapped in a leather binder with embossed lettering. This was when I knew I wanted to be a writer, it just took a long time to get there.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am an outliner and kind of old school, as I still write ideas on a notepad as I write on my laptop.
I am very visually, so I like to visualize the scene I am writing. I usually see it as a movie unfolding as I write—the setting, the tone, the mood, the surroundings, the characters.
I have learned that by spending more time at the beginning of a novel, working on the story, the structure, the plot, the twists and the characters, that when I do begin to write the story, it moves faster and smoother because I have already navigated many details, problems and questions. When I am writing a movie script (first draft), I will spend three weeks on the structure and outline, which is usually 2-3 pages of bullet points (each bullet point representing a 1-3 minute scene); then I will spend three weeks and produce 117 pages of work. This is the power of planning and outlining.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Absolutely, doesn't every one else?…
One of the best techniques I use in developing a character is to relate the character to someone that I know or have encountered. Often, a new character I develop can be a compilation on many attributes of real people, not just one. I based Professor Hainsworth on two professors I have had while attending Brown University, hard exterior but a kind heart. The deeper one goes with creating a character, the more believable they will be—If I listen closely, they tend to write themselves.
Who are your favorite authors?
I enjoy biographies and history, which has obviously influenced my writing. I like going deep into a subject, learning the details of people’s lives, how they lived, what they overcame and how they succeeded. I just finished two extraordinary biographies–Mary, Queen of the Scots by Antonia Fraser and The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir—and I highly recommend both books. The history is fascinating and what these two women endured is stunning. The truth is often far more dramatic than fiction, which is why I enjoy weaving history into my novels.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I previously published a nonfiction title with Pelican. But I knew for the launch of the Britfield series (7-books) that I would need complete creative freedom and build a team to support the marketing, both nationally and globally. This is why I founded Devonfield Publishing. The goal of Devonfield Publishing is to offer a boutique/concierge publishing service to an elect number of authors per year and change the face of the publishing industry as we presently know it.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Unfortunately, traditional publishers do relatively little to help authors sell their book (it’s all up to you) – an archaic publishing model fast becoming extinct. It becomes a full-time job if you want success, such as marketing, media, book signings and events. This is why I founded Devonfield Publishing – to change the face of publishing as we know it.
What genres do you write?
middle grade, juvenile, preteen, ages 9-12, fiction, action, adventure, mystery, historical, thriller, suspense, traditional detective
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Audiobook
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.