Though I wish I could focus my life around writing and projects around my home, the bills require that I work one of those mundane jobs that pays well but offers little in satisfaction. At home, I share my large yard with a host of strays, currently at four mismatched mutts all of goofy character, three cats who gleefully torment me with varying degrees of contempt, a gaggle of geese with attitude issues, a pot bellied pig well into his senior years, and peacocks overly impressed with their plumage display. For fun, aside from reading and writing, l build things, plant gardens, restore old equipment, and other fun stuff. Though I am now widowed, I still have memories of my adventures with my husband in the form of a Pullman Passenger Car converted to a library, a caboose, and many other ‘toys’ we collected together that I am now trying to restore.
What inspires you to write?
I write because I always have and always will. Maybe it came from reading at a young age and finding a place to escape to in books. Writing was no more than an offshoot of not quite fitting into the normal category, like a square peg in a round hole. At one time it was all I wanted to do, but the dreams were derailed by reality. Instead I did what survival required and comforted myself in writing continuously, sneaking in classes or seminars when I could and reading compulsively. Life, people, nature, animals, history, all of the world around me inspires me. I have stories always forming, always waiting in the wings to be given life. I need no inspiration to write, it is part of my very being. I need time, but alas, that is not always as easy to find.
Tell us about your writing process.
There is a backlog of stories hidden in my brain. Some are complete, others are dancing to the forefront of my consciousness to be developed. So I cannot claim to be a panster since when I begin a story I usually know its course as I write. If I do any pre-planning, its always in my head. It would do me no good to write down ideas, I’d lose the notes. My mind does not rest much, it shuffles and stirs, and disturbs my sleep. Even when working on projects, my mind will layout a story. Which is why I can be so airheaded as to put my keys in the fridge and the milk on the nightstand, and then spend hours looking for them. The only time my mind focuses is when I am actually writing out a story. However, since I write so fast to keep up with my thoughts, I always need a great deal of editing and trimming before the final product.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I am my characters. Regardless of what I write, I do a huge amount of research. I know the landscape of the story, I know the time period, I know the events, customs, laws and people who inhabit the situation. That’s where being a voracious reader comes in handy, I devour any relevant information I come across. And as I write, I then slip into my character’s thought process and all else will surround that mindset, from the character’s observations to the reactions of others to the emotions which propel the story.
What advice would you give other writers?
I really cannot feel confident enough in my ability to be able to pass along any revelation to writing. Since writing is so deeply embedded within my psyche, it mainly just happens for me. However, I don’t know if its particularly outstanding, so I wouldn’t want to suggest anyone try my methods. If I recommended anything, its read, read, read.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I ended up self-publishing because some of my beta readers thought my stories were worthy of publishing and sort of gently pushed (encouraged?) me in that direction. For this story, I did query agents, but I found the idea rather perplexing since I had a feeling most did not reach the intended target. A couple did and I received requests for reads, but the responses only left me more confused. While complimenting my skill, I was also greeted with the sad reality that they did not think they could find a publisher. If I had the right credentials (i.e. journalist, best selling novelist, etc) the publishing houses are willing to tackle a unique story. If a writer lacks proper publicity, they are unlikely to break into the market unless they copy a popular style or genre. Its a great way to get a foot in the door and expand. Unfortunately, I remain a square peg and my corners have never been properly rounded so I am not certain I can write to follow the herd. To create a story, I have to bring the characters I know to life of their own accord.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I don’t contemplate it too much. I will always read, so there is at least one fan left for publishers. I believe the big houses will continue to only go with surefire successes, or at least until the popularity wanes for a topic. So it may be that it will be small, independent publishers and self-publishers who lead the way, take the chance on a newcomer to set the trend. It may be the way the big places survive, by only considering the bottom line, or it may be the cause of their eventual decline, I cannot say.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Crime, drama, historic fiction, urban fiction, romance, new adult, coming of age
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print