As an author, speaker, and historian, I am known as Florida’s History Detective. I write historical fiction and nonfiction and specialize in little known stories of Florida history. My nonfiction topics include a 135-year-old mental institution, the significant role South Florida played in bringing illegal booze into the U.S. during prohibition, how a top-secret military base in Boca Raton, Florida, won World War II. My fiction books include biblical mysteries and children’s books and novels, most with a Florida setting.
Prior to my formal writing career, I served as a special correspondent for the Sun Sentinel newspaper for four years, and I was a contributing journalist for a number of South Florida magazines.
Based upon excerpts from my book Run the Rum In, I appeared in two TV documentaries (“Gangsters”—National Geographic Channel and “Prohibition and the South Florida Connection”—WLRN, Miami). I also served as associate producer on the latter production.
I have been a guest on South Florida PBS TV and radio stations, a guest presenter at the Lifelong Learning Society at Florida Atlantic University, guest presenter at Future Authors of America, and guest speaker at numerous historical societies, libraries, organizations and schools.
I live with my husband Chuck in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and split my time between Deerfield Beach, and Wolf Laurel, North Carolina where I love to spend my summers.
What inspires you to write?
For nonfiction, it’s the thrill of the chase. Once I find a mystery disguised as a “little story” in some obscure newspaper or archive–game on. And, there is no stopping me until I uncover all the players, events, and facts and am able to bring them to my readers in a compelling manner.
For fiction, it’s using my imagination to bring characters and events to life for the reader. I often use real events and fictionalize them, giving them an unexpected twist that draws the reader into the story.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a seat of the pants writer using research as the foundation of my story whether it’s nonfiction or fiction. I want the reader to be entertained and educated by history and strive to present it in a captivating manner.
With fiction, I generally know where I want to go, but don’t have any specifics. This allows me to let the characters and settings dictate the story and conversation.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes. I let the characters dictate dialogue, expressions, and interaction between them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Experience. Read. Listen. Write. In that order. Experience, any and all kinds–good or bad–allows the author to write a believable story. Read everything you can–fiction and nonfiction. This opens you to other writing styles and stories that can inspire you. Listen–to conversations around you, topics on people’s minds. This helps you with dialogue and allows you to include conversations on topics that are of concern to your readers. Write.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I first started writing, a traditional publisher was basically the only way for an author to establish credibility. Self-publishing was a “dirty” word. I wanted to be “published” so my first four books were published by traditional publishers. Now, I self-publish both paperback and e-books. This proves far more satisfactory to me both in time, marketing, and royalties.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Less traditional publishers, more self-publishing. Fewer agents. My concern regards libraries. With the digital world and more libraries going virtual, will more people simply borrow digital books from them instead of buying their own? If so, how will authors get paid?
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Historic Nonfiction, Fiction–Mysteries, Christian Fiction, Children’s books
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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