One of my earliest fiction heroines was Nancy Drew. I couldn’t get enough of her. Nancy was self-confident and clever and always, ALWAYS eyeball deep in trouble. Oddly, she was the direct opposite of me. Hoodoo Money is the kind of romantic suspense novel I loved to read then, and still do. Hopefully, I’ve succeeded in filling its pages with enough mystery to spark the imagination and ample romance to stir the heart. With a dose of sizzle thrown in for good measure.
What inspires you to write?
Life, whether the event be big or small. Sometimes a simple wrong number can spur the imagination into overdrive. In the case of Hoodoo Money, Book 1 in my Stolen Nickel Series, I was inspired by several circumstances: one, my daughter getting mugged outside a New Orleans cemetery after lifting a souvenir nickel from the grave of Marie Laveau; and two, research I’d done into the brutal killing of a local businessman. While corresponding with the incarcerated killer (eighteen at the time of the shooting), he asked why a nice lady like me would want to write such a heinous story. He suggested I write fantasy instead, something that would make people laugh or smile. Already torn between writing a tell-all book that would follow this man for the rest of his life or his suggested fiction, I turned my research into romantic suspense – and I’ve not regretted that decision for a single moment.
Tell us about your writing process.
I don’t outline, although I know a lot of authors who do. I suppose I’m not that disciplined. I simply take one scene, one chapter at a time, submit it to my writing group, make suggested changes I feel appropriate, and move onto the next. If I really get stuck I fall back on some advice I received during a stint at NaNoWriMo: If you find yourself blocked, place your protagonist in the most dire situation you can think of – a situation truly awful – and have him (or her) work through it.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Of course I do – and they can be a stubborn, insistent, infuriating lot. But they’re smart, too. In the end, they know what I say goes. Need I mention those dire straits again?
What advice would you give other writers?
Pull on every ounce of stubbornness you possess. Writing is oft times a tough and lonely undertaking. Family circumstances constantly try to draw you away. A ringing phone. A knock on the door. Sometimes you must be single-minded, and that’s a hard task. Also, listen to your fellow writers – be they in your physical critique group or online. By listening, I don’t mean incorporate every suggestion. Maintaining “your voice” as a writer is so important. Just keep an open mind.
Above, all . . . edit, edit, edit!
Network when and where you can. Share. If other writers are helping you to promote, return the favor. Interact with readers when the opportunity presents itself.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Both HOODOO MONEY and Book 2, MANGROVES AND MONSTERS, were released by a small indie publishing house. Unfortunately, my publisher closed its doors in 2013 – a sad sign of the times – which left me with first editions I couldn’t sell because the cover art had reverted back to the original sources. That’s when I decided to explore Amazon’s Createspace. I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny. There are so many things I love about self-publishing: having the lion’s share of control, for sure, and creating cover art, designing the books (interior and exterior). Market always sucks. But writing and publishing have become exciting for me again, this great adventure – and I’ve barely scratched the surface.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Publishing has a new face, it’s changing every day, and authors need to keep up. In a sense, the playing fields have leveled a bit. Which is both good and bad. I’ve read some novels that are so poorly edited it makes you cringe, or embarrassed for the author, and I fear this substandard editing will cause readers to increasingly shy away from self-published books. On the other hand, everyone seems to be reading, which makes me feel energized.
Unfortunately, with the onslaught of electronic books, we’re also seeing small indie bookstores close. Heck, even some of the bigger chains have closed their doors. And this saddens me. I love holding a “real” book in my hands. I love the smell of musty bookstores and perusing shelf after shelf of books at our local library with my granddaughter. I want my great-grandchildren to have those same experiences. My great-great grandchildren. (Oh, look at the girl go. Climbing on that soapbox, and at the same time, planning her next Kindle Countdown Deal.) I suppose there is no perfect publishing world. But writing is what I love, and like other authors, I embrace the changes with as much gusto as I did reading Nancy Drew by flashlight when I was a girl.
It’s all about words and putting them to paper, and putting our babies in the hands of eager readers.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
romantic suspense, memoir, slice of life.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print