I’ve been lucky. Years ago, I wanted to live on a farm, and my husband said “Let’s do it.” When personal computers were introduced, I wanted to know about them and own one, and lucky me, the school where I taught offered a course in Basic. When we bought our first computer, I discovered the writer’s best friend–word processing. Before that, I could not write without crossing out most of a typewritten or handwritten page, and progress seemed impossible. When I wanted to shift from teaching to writing, the first Macintosh computers came out, and I was lucky enough to have, along with technical and business writing, the first “desktop publishing” service in my area. And when finally I had the leisure to give a lot of time to a novel, my husband didn’t merely tolerate my commitment, he encouraged it.
What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired by people, cultures, the wonder of nature, and the fact that one lifetime is not enough to experience and understand even a small portion of creation. Writers, like historians, artists, and scientists, contribute to that understanding.
My first inspiration for The Girl on the Mountain was the mountain wilderness, because West Virginia’s terrain and flora have always challenged and tested those who live here. Second, I was inspired by the history of industry and everyday life in the 19th century, the forerunners of today’s technology and culture. When I read Roy B. Clarkson’s non-fiction account of lumbering in West Virginia, (Tumult on the Mountain, 1964, McClain Printing Co., Parsons, WV), with more than 250 photos of giant trees, loggers, sawmills, trains, and towns, I found the setting for this story. Finally, I was inspired by men and women of previous generations who faced difficulties unknown today. Researching and writing this novel, I felt closer to the lives of grandparents I never knew.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a puzzle-piece writer. A piece comes to mind–it could be a character trait, an image, a situation. My first job is to find another piece that might fit, then another. Enlarging and arranging those puzzle pieces is my way to create and populate a fictional world. It’s exciting.
Microsoft OneNote is my favorite tool for collecting and expanding my puzzle pieces.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Once I’ve established the characters’ background, personality, and mannerisms, I explore situations that fit them, advance the plot, and are interesting to write.
What advice would you give other writers?
Internet is full of wonderful resources. Get to know them. Get feedback from people you respect, and never publish work that isn’t good by many people’s standards. Work hard, find your audience, don’t expect huge rewards, and most important–have fun.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Advice on the Independent Publishing forum at critiquecircle.com led me to many resources that convinced me I could do this myself and would likely be better rewarded than if I published traditionally.
New authors should explore all the options and decide how much help they need–whether they need to be managed, assisted, or can do it all alone!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
There are more opportunities to publish today than ever before, so I think the future has to be bright.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Historical Fiction, Period Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print