I am the daughter of Italian immigrants and grew up in North Central West Virginia with a love of reading and a passion for learning. Following a career path that included being a teacher, journalist, and marketer, I have lived as far away from home as Italy where I had ample opportunity to practice my family’s native tongue as well as opportunity to take advantage of living near to other European countries to travel extensively. A rabid Pittsburgh Steeler fan, I lives with her husband, an equally committed New York Giants fan, in suburban Denver where off-football-season dinner conversation is calmer and is usually accompanied by a meal I cooks from one of my mother’s treasured recipes. Other interests include New York Times crossword puzzles, good movies, and travel. I volunteer extensively for my parish and write for its publications. I also teach part-time for the St. Catherine of Siena Institute.
What inspires you to write?
I’m drawn to fiction because I come from a family of who has the philosophy to “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”. While the others are great oral storytellers, I find that I enjoy the process of creating entire scenarios that can’t be contained in a few minutes of a brief joke. My first novel had a large inspiration in the fact that young Catholic women do not have role models in fiction who are witty, funny, interesting characters living realistically in today’s world while keeping their values. My life experiences give me the luxury of a wealth of characters and information from which to draw. I also enjoy the part of my life that encompasses writing non-fiction because it is the actual act of writing that is most important to me.
Tell us about your writing process.
Before I begin “the work”, I collect as much information as possible. My background in journalism comes into play even in fiction when I do a character sketch for all main characters that includes an interview of each of them that is done in a journalistic style. I also draw a sketch of the characters and their relationships to one another so that I keep straight how realistic it would be for one character to comment on another, for example if he would never have met him. For any book, I think it’s important to stay true to the genre. Before starting “Love on the Back Burner”, I researched Romantic Comedy (“ChickLit”) and noted the pattern of the books, the type of characters that the reader of that genre would expect, etc. By the time I sat down to write the book, I was ready to live in the world for the length of time it took to complete it. At that point, I set a daily schedule of minimum words and stuck to it. Sure, there were days when I went back to those words and had to revise revise revise before I started on a new day, but it was important to keep on track.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters tell me where they want to go, and if I try to move them in the wrong direction, I find that the writing becomes a task. As long as I have done my homework ahead of time, they’ll stay true to themselves, even if they change course from the original outline. For example, in my current project (title TBD), my main character was originally going to be stranded because she missed getting back on her cruise ship at one port stop, but her story would not play out with the folks she met there there and she insisted to me that she find her way back on her cruise ship. Her story is flowing much better with her own friends around her.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read read read. Read books by authors you admire and love. Read books that are not particularly good to know what not to do. Read magazines, newspapers, the Web — read everything! The best way you can create is to study the craft. The other thing that helps me as a writer of contemporary fiction is to listen to dialog around me and jot down turns of phrase that are particularly good, or to jot down words that are particularly mellifluous or paint great word pictures.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I gave myself a year to pursue the traditional publishing route of seeking an agent, etc. At that point I decided that independent publishing — if done properly — does not carry the stigma it once did. I made the investment in a great editor, a great cover designer and a great interior designer to produce the best product possible to give my readers the same quality that a big publishing house would. If you take those steps, your book can sit side by side with any book published by the big five, but by all means don’t believe anyone who says you can cut corners and it will be “just as good”. Also, be prepared to be your own marketing, PR, and sales staff.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The great indie published authors that blazed the trail for authors like me were invaluable, while those that were out for a quick buck still give us a bad name. That being said, I still think that Indie will continue to grow in stature. There will always be a place for traditional publishing.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Romantic comedy (published), non-fiction (as of yet unpublished)
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print