Hypothetically there are endless amounts of information one can write about oneself in a bio. But practically speaking, what would others want to know? Where one lived, how one grew up, what type of education a person had, what kind of work they did, and their life experience would say a lot about someone. Yes, those are things about an author I would wonder about too or any public figure for that matter. It would say quite a bit about his or her character and orientation.
With that in mind, I will best describe myself succinctly. First off, although college education is desirable, I have had no college education. It is not because I was unable to do so, but rather, it was unnecessary for a successful and happy life, which was my goal. I had an excellent elementary and secondary school education and was fortunate to participate in the Fine Arts, abundantly taught in most schools I attended at that time. My father, a cartoonist, painter, and guitar player was also in the US military and put a request in for a transfer overseas. Soon after, our family transferred to Spain during my middle school years. These years were probably the most illuminating and happy years of my life. Spain was an artistic country. There was art everywhere I looked. And the people were the best part. From that point on, I was self-taught. I loved writing, reading, and English classes, as well as history, but creativity was always my passion. I taught myself to paint with oils, sculpt, dance, cook, sew, and just about anything else of interest. Thus was my education.
Being in a military family, I never lived in any one place as a child for more than three and a half years. This experience taught me the value of growing up in one place, surrounded by the same individuals. And I learned that to have friends you have known all your life is worth gold. Although it is an esteemed quality of life I didn’t have, I am content to be part of such a community and graciously accepted.
My husband and I were married in Portland, Oregon. Starting with nothing, we established and grew a residential remodeling and restoration company, which we continue operating for the last thirty-eight years while raising our children.
In 2011 we purchased a beautiful 1890 Queen Anne Victorian House in North Carolina, which is where we live now with our Irish Terrier, Samwise. I raised my youngest son there, and it is where I began writing my first book, “Frederic & Cassandra Book One The Sinister House.” It was slow going at first, but once I decided to complete it, I persisted until it was finished and published.
What inspires you to write?
Since I was a young child, I wrote things, little stories I made up to amuse myself, and I would draw constantly. The first time I ever wrote for others was at my grandparents’ while visiting them and my many cousins. They had a double room connected by a wide draped doorway. The drapery reminded me of a theatre. I decided to write a play using my cousins and myself as the characters. It took days to write the play and the script for each of the characters, then we had fun rehearsing for hours. When we were all done and ready we got the adults together. We were behind the curtain and they sat on the opposite side attentive. With unbridled enthusiasm, we performed the play in a matter of a few minute's time, and they applauded dutifully. Laughing at myself now, I remember how disappointed I was that the whole performance was over so fast, after all the hours I put into creating it. I learned that happiness lies in the act of working. It was the activity of the project and bringing something into being that I enjoyed.
People inspire me. Their personalities interest me. I look at attitudes, actions, the way a person talks or handles a problem…do they share their thoughts, or do they keep to themselves? All these traits are interesting and I never get bored with integrating them into a new character. A person can be a good influence or bad. I find that when a person has inspired me in a good way, it stirs my imagination. Most people go through life reaching out to create an effect on their surroundings. Writing is the method I have chosen to influence, encourage, and motivate those who read for enjoyment. As a result, I describe my characters, theme, location, and atmosphere with just the right amount of detail to entertain a reader.
Tell us about your writing process.
I'm big on spontaneity. When I decide to write a new story or novel, I decide what to write about and who my public will be. From there, writing a book for me is like starting a fire, igniting sparks, stoking it, and keeping it going long enough to bring the manuscript to a satisfying conclusion. Sometimes the fire almost dies and I have to quickly stoke it before it goes out, sometimes temperately burning stably, and sometimes it is all ablaze.
A brief outline works for me. Once I start writing, the ideas come and I work hard to compose them engagingly for myself and my readers. Old books are great references for historic background and theme. They also inspire more ideas for sub-stories within the main story, or more dialogue between characters. Once I’ve written several thousand words I find myself in need of something more substantial than words on a page, such as photographs or pictures to create more reality with my characters, where they live, and what they look like. Maps are useful as well. Using maps, photos, and pictures give me a rapport consistent with descriptive details throughout the rest of the novel. The readers have to be able to identify and empathize with my story to stay interested.
There are always new things to learn. So, research is important, not to impress someone but to deliver a realness to the prose. Again when a person reads a story, they need to gain something from it, whether it validates what is already true for them or show them a new perspective, something they may not have thought of before, food for thought.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
When creating a new character, I use my own experience and observation of people in general. I'm with that character, being him or her, experiencing his or her emotion, energy, and attitude. Although I've always admired people gifted with a quick wit, I've never been one myself. Writing allows me the time to think of a whole dialog or funny statement for a scene in a book. The dialog is an important element in drawing the reader in and allowing the reader to get to know the characters intimately.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love the Southern United States, especially the 'Old South.' However, it wasn't until reading my first John Grisham book that I realized just how much I adored the South. I've read most of his books. Another favorite is Lois Battle, who writes about strong Southern women and has been a great inspiration for my first novel, "Frederic & Cassandra Book 1 The Sinister House." The richness of Southern culture is still much in existence and comes to life for me when I read her books.
Outside of the US, Agatha Christy is one author I could stay up all night reading to find can find out 'who done it' and why. She is brilliant and keen-witted enough to keep her reader engaged throughout with the added benefit of her continental gentility.
As a child, I read avidly, more so than as an adult. My choices were broad but mostly the Classics such as "Grimm's Fairy Tales," "Anderson's Fairy Tales," "Robinson Crusoe," "Swiss Family Robinson," "The Wizard of Oz," "Nancy Drew Mysteries," "Anne of Green Gables," "The Secret Garden," "Little Women," and many more. My favorite genre is a good mystery.
As a young adult, I've enjoyed Steinbeck, Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and many others.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
It was not easy to get my book published. I networked online to find publishers who would accept the submission of my manuscript. I found about twenty or so publishers with instructions to submit. I followed each one's instructions to the letter and waited for several weeks. I was prepared for waiting and for rejections. After all, this was my first novel. In total, I got several rejections, but three offers, and I accepted the contract that most suited me.
I decided against Self-Publishing because this was my first book. I wanted to know that someone in the industry thought my manuscript was worth the investment. I needed that acknowledgment. And it gave me the confidence to continue my writing as a side career.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe the future looks bright indeed for book publishing. Although the public has additional ways to entertain themselves with advanced technology, this same technology allows new and innovative authors the tools to write faster and better. Evolution has taken writers from the ink and quill to the word processor, which enables the modern writer to focus mostly on their creativity and composition skill and worry less about typos.
The publishing industry will not necessarily market your work, even if they agreed to publish it. You can have an incredible story, but if no one knows about it, who will benefit? Once you get your work published, you may have to get the word out yourself and get your book broadly exposed to the public, so they know it is there. Be prepared because that takes a lot of energy and determination.
With persistence and hard work, the future of the publishing industry is very bright!
What genres do you write?
Fiction: Coming of Age, Mystery, Adventure, Action, Young Adult, Teen, Romance,
What formats are your books in?
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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.