My novel captures some of my experiences as an animal rescuer, advocate for no-kill shelters, and blogger, which consumed me for years. After I burned out, I wanted to find a different way to help animals and turned to writing my first novel.
While the passionate arguments in the animal rescue world were a shock to me, I am not a stranger to controversial issues. I grew up in Washington D.C. where politics, legislation, and public policy are an obsession. I worked as a city planner in local government with very active, vocal citizens who were angry about high-rise developers gobbling up neighborhood property. Later I consulted with the federal government on policy and environmental impacts of some incredibly controversial projects: siting of high-level radioactive waste; cleanup of the nation’s nuclear bomb-making sites; dismantlement of nuclear weapons, and; storage of highly enriched uranium and plutonium from dismantled weapons.
What inspires you to write?
I wanted to write since I picked up my first pencil and saw the power of forming a word. I love novels and always fantasized about writing one. My jobs have always involved a lot of writing but the plot for a novel just didn't come to me. I was inspired to write this book by my experiences that I spent volunteering with animal rescue groups. Working to save dogs and cats from death row is joyful but also heartbreaking because of all the animals I couldn't save. Rescue work is full of passion and I realized that it would make for a good story. I started thinking about how much fun it would be to kill off an animal shelter director who killing and abusing animals. It may sound bizarre, but that one thought started the writing process for me.
I'm excited that the audio book is in production so people who like to hear books can enjoy the story.
Tell us about your writing process.
After I came up with the idea for the murder, the story just started flowing. The characters seemed to develop on their own. The plot evolved with the characters. I'm sure that outlines and character sketches are useful. But this book almost seemed to write itself. That's not to say it was easy. It took me a year to write the book. I constantly edit as I write. I write a few pages and by the next day I'm disappointed by what I wrote. I edit and edit and edit. And when I look at the book now, I still want to dive back in and edit it more. I never understood it when actors say that they can't stand to watch themselves in their films, but now I think it must be that they are wishing that they could change their performance. I knew that I had to stop editing and finish the book. That was the hardest part of the process – letting go.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters really came alive for me. I wish that I could meet them – except for the villains. Clearly I have a point of view about the villains do, and I made an effort to understand their motivations. The exception is the murdered animal shelter director. I didn't bother trying to round out his character because I despise him. I just described his evil actions. That was all that I felt he deserved. And I think that it is enough for the story.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love authors who tackle social justice issues in their novels without beating me over the head with them. I loved John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Kurt Vonnegat's Catch 22, George Orwell's 1984, and Margaret Atwood's A Hand Maid's Tale. More recently, I was enthralled with Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. If I'm tired of social issues, I'll turn to almost any mystery, science fiction, historical fiction books. I also read some romance books like Diana Gabaldon's Outlander.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I self published because I didn't like the idea of submitting my book to publishers and being rejected. I decided that I have a special niche, which is mystery book lovers who love dogs and cats. All of royalties go to Home for Life animal sanctuary so I hope the book sells, but my primary goal is to tell a good story and also spread the word that we can save more dogs and cats in shelters.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think indie publishing is the future for book publishing. The days of publishers killing good books are over. Maybe not every book that is self published is good, but at least it will get its chance to be read.
What genres do you write?
It's a mystery, but there are definitely paranormal and romance elements to this story.
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Audiobook
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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.