I am absolutely over-educated with a B.A. in Asian Studies, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Ph.D. in North American Religion and Culture. My interest in religion and spirituality has led me to work in United Methodist churches for about 20 years. However, I also have a keen interest in history and spent about 14 semesters as an adjunct professor at two universities, where I taught interdisciplinary studies and history.
For as long as I can remember, I have been making up and telling stories. I began writing stories down as soon as I could form words on paper. However, dreams of being a writer faded as I entered my adult years and faced the facts of economic survival. Although I wrote, it was usually in the form of church-related papers, articles, curriculum materials, and publicity. However, around four years ago, I felt a divine “nudging” to “tell the story.” I am also fortunate enough to have a Significant Other who was telling me the same thing. The story I happened to have was a draft of Saint Maggie, a fictional work based on a research paper I had written as a graduate student. Suddenly my worlds of religion, history, and fiction came together.
I share my home with an energetic Mini-Australian Shepherd named Tippy. I enjoy spending my free time with my significant other, his daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons, who know me as “Mimi.” I also love to spend time with my sister and her partner.
What inspires you to write?
Interesting, challenging stories and characters! Which one comes first varies. Sometimes, as in the case of Saint Maggie, the inspiration came from a scandal that occurred in Warren County, NJ in 1858. Other times, it’s the characters, as in the case of Walk by Faith, the Saint Maggie sequel. Since I enjoy history, I also can receive inspiration from historical events.
Tell us about your writing process.
That’s a good question. I usually get a germ of an idea and let it bang around my brain for a while. When it comes time to write, I will make some sort of rough outline. Then I start writing. In the process of writing, I allow myself to deviate from the outline as long as things are progressing in some sort of rational manner. Sometimes I scribble things, even first chapters, into notebooks. Other times I write directly into my laptop. It all depends on what I need to do to get the story down. Also, I try just to let the first draft flow out. Ideally, I do not go back and polish until I’m finished — unless I absolutely cannot stand what I just wrote! Then it’s edit, edit, edit until it all hangs together and feels right.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Heck, yes! Once I start working with them, there are occasions when they will not go along with some element in the plot or some dialog. They definitely let me know if something is out of character for them. Without sounding too weird, they take on a life of their own. While writing Walk by Faith, I found that I had to indulge Eli in some scenes that I eventually cut out of the novel. Sometimes it’s important to let characters have their say or their bit of business. I think it helps me understand them a little more deeply. The beauty of writing is that you don’t have to include everything in the final draft, but you walk away knowing who these people are.
What advice would you give other writers?
Reading helps. Look at how other writers use dialog, how they describe, what voices they use, and so on.
But most of all, write! You learn to play a musical instrument by practicing. The same applies to writing – you learn to write by practicing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
As I mentioned in the bio, it was a combination of my significant other and a celestial nudge. And the world of indie publishing made it all possible.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe that the market will be shared by traditional publishers and independent publishers/authors. There is room for everyone. It’s good to have a diverse genetic pool!
What do you use?
Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
historical fiction (United States)
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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