Did you Always want to be an Author and write books?
Yes. From an early age I knew that I wanted to be a writer, and began with poetry and short stories. When I was 15, I created my first newspaper and circulated it to family and friends, near and far. Later, I gravitated toward print publications, novels, and a “real” publishing company.
I see that you have also written books for younger readers, Do you have a preference in terms of writing – young readers vs. adults?
My favorite is writing for young and middle grade readers. I also like the mystery genre. The Marker, my first adult fiction, was a challenge because the idea came about during an extremely busy work schedule.
You have a Civil War Soldier and Civil War Maker in you novel The Marker, Are you a civil war buff yourself?
Interestingly, I was not a Civil War (CW) buff prior to finding the marker. In the 1990s, I published THE COLLECTOR Newsmagazine and received products from company’s that manufactured CW memorabilia. The many products available to collectors sparked my interest in that era. The marker was found in an antique shop, and the owner’s history of the piece was the inspiration for the book.
How much research when into the writing of The Marker?
Researching began almost immediately after I purchased the marker, and continued for years. My first discovery was that the marker is authentic to the CW post-war era.
How long did it take you to write The Maker from beginning to end?
Once I heard the words, “write my story,” I knew I was going on a wonderful journey of discovery; however, I never imagined that it would take over twenty years to complete the story. Being a print journalist and then a publisher/editor didn’t allow time for writing this book. As more characters were added, it became fuller, deeper, and more intense. The story is told in modern time and weaves the generations from past to present. Last year, I changed the ending and that set me back because the changes ricocheted all the way back to the beginning. It was a tremendous amount of work, but well worth it.
Are you currently writing another book?
Yes. In late January 2018 I will publish a children’s chapter book series and another mystery is scheduled for September 2018.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
So far, I haven’t had any difficulties with that.
Are you friends with other Authors, and if so, how do they help you to be a better Author/Writer?
I do have friends who are authors but most of them are busy with their own projects and rarely offer advice or communicate on the pros and cons of the publishing industry.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything what advice would you give?
Don’t take rejections seriously. Keep moving forward. Believe in your project(s). Take criticism, but don’t allow it to deter you from your goals. Follow your own path. And, best of all, don’t stop writing.
How do you select the names of your characters?
There are no rules in naming characters. I select a name and see if the character’s personality fits. However, a different thought process goes into naming characters from another era. For my children’s books, I decide on names that kids can relate to and will find interesting or funny. But herein, they should fit the personality of the character. In one of my books a Siamese cat is named Yo-Yo after the famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Do you ever use people in your life as inspirations for your characters?
I think it’s almost impossible not to be inspired by those around us. I like to believe that my characters are uniquely different—having their own personalities, morals, traits, quirks, and flaws—but there are times I see others, or myself, in phrases or actions.
Do you have a writing routine?
Yes. There’s a process, and it always begins with the story idea (lots of notes on index cards), character bios (this is the fun part), places where they live, prior jobs, etc. I write everything down in a notebook designated for particular book project. From there, I let go and watch the process unfold. The interesting part of the writing cycle is that what is documented early on will change and evolve dramatically. I call it the yield, swerve, and adapt process.