I currently live in a rural area of the mid-west. After living in various parts of the U.S. and traveling abroad, I recently moved into the very same home in which I spent my first 18 years. I enjoy country living: ours is a small community and everyone knows everybody. I also appreciate the culture of the city: the shopping, dining, and the opera and ballet.
I love travelling, especially to other countries, and I speak Spanish. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Literature, and a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising. Home decorating is one of my favorite things. Of course I love to read, and I’m a published poet. I like baking pies. Oh, and I like playing cornhole, and I spend way more time than I should playing computer games. My constant companion is a tiny Yorkshire terrier named Georgie Doodlebug. I call her GiGi.
What inspires you to write?
The Characters. They speak to me, and I feel compelled to write down their stories. Recording their circumstances, challenges and triumphs gives me a unique joy I only experience when I’m writing.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m mostly a “by the seat of my pants” kind of writer. “The Art of Going Home,” grew organically from the idea of a young woman looking into her twin sister’s murder. The story takes place eighteen years later, and explores the depths of romantic and family love.
My writing process for the sequel, “The Art of Retribution,” had to be a little more structured. I wanted to be sure to answer all the questions that were left open in Book 1. However, my outline was pretty loose, so there was still a lot of “by the seat of my pants” writing going on with it as well.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Definitely! To me, my characters are real people with real problems and emotions, and I think of them the same way as I think of any other person I know. What motivates them? What would their response be to a particular situation? Their answers depend on their personality, point of view, and history – their life experience. What incident(s) in their past would influence how they think and react, and why? I try to make my characters change and grow, and again, it mostly occurs as I’m writing. I don’t usually start out with a detailed character sketch before the words hit the page.
Who are your favorite authors?
I could list dozens!
My favorite book is Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” which received a Nobel Prize. I’m fascinated with its ingenious complexity and intertwining of elements. The line between fantasy and reality are blurred. Solitude is psychological as much as geographical, and time is cyclical.
Some others are “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay; “The Chocolate Rose” by Laura Florand; “The Theory of Invisibility” by Aimee Pitta; “The Legend of Juan Miguel” by Anna K. Sargent; “Bottomland” by Trey Holt; Jasmine Haynes (The Max Starr Series) ; “Brambleman” by Jonathan Grant; Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games).
I immensely enjoy JD Nixon (Little Town series); Scott Pratt (The Joe Dillard Series); and Nick Pirog (Henry Bins Series).
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I self-published “The Art of Going Home” on Amazon because I didn’t think a publisher would be interested in my manuscript. I had some sort of vague idea that publishers would only accept a few elite authors, and that I wasn’t qualified to be a member of this tiny group. But about six months after I self-published, I received an offer from a publisher. I was shocked! Then I thought, maybe if one is interested, others will be too. So I did a lot of research and submitted to four other publishers whose guidelines seemed to be a good fit for the novel. I was thrilled to receive two more offers! “The Art of Going Home” will be re-released by my publisher a little over a year after I self-published it.
I decided to go with a publisher because my marketing and promotional skills were weak. And I learned the hard way my manuscript wasn’t really ready when I released it. I had to do several revisions after I published, which is backwards. Readers deserve a polished, well edited story. If that’s not what they receive, it tarnishes not only the individual author’s reputation, but the good standing of all writers. Signing with a publisher gave me the opportunity to have the manuscript further corrected and revised by a professional content editor and a proofreader. I realize now how vital this feedback is. Very very few authors have the ability to properly edit and proofread their own material. Having beta readers and experts do this is a must, regardless of how an author publishes.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The publishing environment is so exciting right now! From cover design to marketing and publicity, authors have the chance to control as little or as much of the process as they wish. This was not the case before self-publishing, and I think it’s dramatically changed the dynamics of the industry.
Of course, the flip side of the coin is that poor quality books are easy to put on the market, and this has had a detrimental effect. Readers are becoming reluctant to purchase books from little known or self-published authors because there is a real possibility it won’t be worth the money.
In the future, I feel most of the responsibility for delivering high quality books will fall upon the author. In the end, they’re accountable for their work, and have an obligation to be certain it’s excellent.
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?