I was born in Chicago, Illinois, but left the windy city at the age of 8 when my family moved to Japan. Upon return to the United States, my family moved to Phoenix, Arizona where I graduated high school and began college. I was soon discouraged and quit college to join the Navy where I became a photographer. After my 3 year tour, I returned to college and got married. I got a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and an MBA before I decided to return to the Navy. I retired from the Navy with 22 years of service and traveled the United States in a motorhome with my husband. When he died unexpectedly, I returned to work in the federal government in a civilian job. Then, I got the writing bug and left my job of 7 years to devote more time to my new passion. I live in Texas for now.
What inspires you to write?
In grade school, I wrote short stories and poems, but once I got older, I stopped. I had a writer’s block for over 40 years. Then, after watching the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, I began to develop a story that I couldn’t get out of my mind until I wrote it down. It was pretty awful, but I really found that I had enjoyed the process. I decided that I would take it a step farther and went back changing characters and creating a whole new setting and premise for the book. The basic plot stayed the same, but the setting I had created took on a life of its own. Seaward Isle is an Elf island, but it is not in the Elf World or Eledon. It became a challenge to figure out how my main character was going to fix it.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a seat of the pants writer. I get a concept in mind and just start writing. Once I finished the first draft, I go back and edit. It’s kind of like a outline, but with a lot more detail I did try outlining once, but by the time I started writing the first chapter, nothing on the outline made sense. This process works for me because I don’t mind the editing and re-writing process; some writers do. I also work with a professional editor, Teresa Kennedy, who has provided invaluable advice on my novels. The major drawback with this way of writing is that the change I make in one book can impact what happens in another, so I don’t wait and make changes before I forget.
I don’t write down character sketches before I write, but I am intimately familiar with all of them. I like it when they surprise me, too.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters a lot. They’re the ones who will let me know if a story is going in the wrong direction or give me a new angle unexpectedly. Sometimes, they don’t listen to me very well.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t be afraid to try. It does take time and a lot of effort, but I’m having a good time. I must confess that I’m addicted to writing now. I love to get in the flow and let the words come out. Sometimes, my fingers can barely keep up.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I finished my first book, I had no idea what to do with it. I thought about finding an agent, but I had heard so many horror stories, I was scared off. I decided to self-publish, and after some research, settled on Createspace. They did an excellent job and didn’t use any high-pressure sales tactics on me like several other companies. In fact, I had to call them back to get the ball rolling. After my book was published, I began to find problems with it. It wasn’t as good as I thought it was, so before I went ahead with my second book, I found an editor. She did all right, but I wasn’t satisfied, so I found another editor, Teresa Kennedy who did even better. After editing my second book, we went back to the first and went over that one. It just so happened that Teresa was starting up an indie publishing company with another author, called Village Green Press LLC, so she took me on. As a self-published author, I found a lot of doors closed–reviewers wouldn’t review my book, some ebook vendors wouldn’t sell my book. It’s gotten better now, but having a publisher, even an indie publisher, does help get your foot in the door.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
All signs point to electronic publishing and ebooks, but I hate to see print books go away. There’s something about the feel in your hand when you read.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
I write in the fantasy genre, but it has elements of action/adventure, science fiction, and even chick-lit.
What formats are your books in?