The author has taken many different paths in her life, and each and every one of them has led back to writing. Her first stories were written when she was in middle school, and she used her friends as characters. Her first attempt at novel writing was made at the age of fifteen, and it was called Huntington Halls.
Since that time, the author has continued to toil away at the trade, writing throughout high school and later at the University of Pennsylvania. There she clustered in writing, advanced writing, and sociology courses while majoring in natural science, a general study of calculus, physics, biology, and chemistry. In 1983, while attending Fairleigh Dickinson Dental School in Hackensack, New Jersey, the author completed an early draft of Thunderhead. This story sat untouched until 2007, when she decided to expand the book into a trilogy, flavoring it with cameos by real people, like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Wyatt Earp. The next four years were spent rewriting the story and doing research about that period of American history.
Between 1983 and 2007, the author practiced dentistry, raised two children, attended many writers’ conferences in Michigan and Indiana, wrote plays for local high school students to perform, and penned several general fiction books (including He’s Never Lied to Me Yet and An Everlasting Tree). In addition, she began to compile a series of Detective Rein (pronounced “rain”) Connery murder mysteries, entitled Pigeon Blood, The Tattered Thread, Cerulean Skies, Good as You, and Twilight is the Time the Dead Look Back. Meanwhile, the author contemporaneously worked with two different literary agencies.
What inspires you to write?
I have always loved to write. I started writing stories in middle school because I love watching people and hearing what they have to say, and trying to understand their point of view even if it isn’t the same as my own. Everything has a story behind it, so there are no limits to the ideas out there waiting to be put down on paper. I kept writing for years even though I made no money from it because the process gave me such a sense of satisfaction that I just couldn’t ignore.
Tell us about your writing process.
If it were possible to sweat blood on the pages that I write, then you would certainly see at least a couple of red spots on each and every one. Writing well is one of the most difficult disciplines I’ve had to master, and at this point I’m not sure if it can be mastered. There always seems to be room for improvement.
First I get an idea in my head. Then I start doing months worth of research to try and find some kind of a story line for my idea. The story has to be plausible and it has to be interesting enough to coax people into reading about three hundred typed pages of it. If you think about it, that’s no small task, especially with television, the internet, and all sorts of games and activities out there that people could be enjoying instead of reading a book.
The most important part of the writing process is developing engaging characters. They don’t necessarily have to be liked by the reader (although it is a good idea to have at least one or two that the reader can root for or not be totally disgusted by), but they do have to be believable. There’s a fine line between telling the reader enough about your characters and too much. Descriptions generally have to be sprinkled throughout the text and not dumped on the reader in one page.
Lots of people think that just sitting down and writing the story is all that is required. My friend, that is only the beginning. Revisions and rewriting are extremely important. Write each and every sentence as if it has to hold the reader’s attention, or they will surely put the book down. And while you write, keep researching. You will be amazed by the wonderful ideas you’ll get from other people’s work. Adding facts to your story gives it an authenticity that it would never have otherwise.
I am an outliner. I don’t even start writing until I know where the writing is going to take me. What I like to have in mind before I begin writing a story are the principle characters. So the main characters are definitely developed before I start, and other characters may come to mind as I write.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
It is important to do both. I always know my characters much better than what I actually put down on paper and allow my readers to know. By the time I complete a manuscript, my characters are so real to me, it’s amazing.
What advice would you give other writers?
Keep trying to improve your writing. It’ll never be perfect, but with practice, you can get pretty darn good at the craft.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Years of trying to find a traditional publisher was very discouraging. I’ve never used a vanity press because I was never desperate enough to spend thousands of dollars of my own money to get my books in print. So when eBook publishing came around, it was like a godsend for me.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it is very bright, indeed.
What genres do you write?
mystery, general fiction, historical fiction/westerns
What formats are your books in?
Link To Author Page On Amazon