Yes. I was a sophomore in high school and wrote a romance appropriate for my age group. My instructor was so impressed that she said it should be sent into a magazine--I didn't know how to do that and she didn't follow through with more suggestions. Wish I had though.
What is your writing process?
An idea will cross my mind when I'm nowhere near a computer. I will grab a piece of paper and write the idea down. Later I will hope to find and translate the scribbles. Once I'm at the computer, I write in a confusion of sentences that I must then print and sort. Finally, something legible appears.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
As a child I had a multitude of books. When I was three, my aunt, who had a masters in literature, bought me a book called, The Bear Who Said NO. This little bear was very sassy and the good fairy made it impossible for him to say anything but NO. He became lost and couldn't find his way home until the fairy took pity on him and allowed him to ask for help. I determined that I would always act and speak respectfully--to this day I'm thankful to the little bear for teaching me a valuable life lesson. By the way, I still have the book--held together by surgical tape--my mother was a nurse.
How do you approach cover design?
I am the least artistic person in the world. Thank goodness I have a great artist who will take my ideas and pictures and draw a multitude of sketches until I say, "That's it!"
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything I can find at my fingertips. I love mysteries and memoirs. I'm fascinated by people--who they are, why they think the way they do, what their childhood was like and what dreams they harbor; there is nothing like a memoir to answer some of those questions.
Describe your desk
I have an old pressed board computer table with an upper shelf that houses two bags of dog treats, a phone, a unique clock that flips numbers for time, a bottle of lotion which I rarely use, a peanut butter jar with zip drives with my writing on them, an old vase that belonged to my grandmother and has all her letter openers in it, and a saki cup with gum and lip gloss. There are bits of paper with valuable notes taped to the edges of the desk and lying around the monitor.
To my left is a large L-shaped desk covered with printed versions of my work, reference material and my huge insulated cup of tea. I hate a mess and frequently put everything away in a big bookcase snugged up to the computer table only to pull everything out an hour later.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Both my parents were in the military and I spent a great deal of time with my paternal grandparents in a small town outside Lincoln, Nebraska. My grandfather owned the general store and it was a kid's paradise of candy and cookies. My grandmother took care of everyone in town--she took them to doctor's appointment and cooked big meals where everyone was invited. I learned to appreciate the uniqueness of the individual--I hope my writing reflects that appreciation. When my father got out of the army we settled in Wyoming where the wind never stops blowing and you're only a real person if you are a crack shot--I was. In Wyoming at that time, we made our own fun--it was reading for me. The more I read, the more I wanted to write--it hasn't changed.
When did you first start writing?
I remember writing "real" stories starting in ninth grade--I was the editor of the school magazine and feature editor of the newspaper. While still in high school I wrote a column for the town paper.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I became involved in Doberman Rescue of Colorado when my youngest son died and his male rescued Doberman came to live with me. I didn't know what to do with an intelligent large dog so deeply steeped in grief for his missing master and I was in no better shape than the dog. Chuck Vaile of DRC led me step by step in caring for Tripper.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I queried several agents and a few expressed interest but not enough to take me on as a client. For many years I earned a living in the field of radiology and part of what I did was present seminars for educational credits in my field. One of my lectures was written up in a national radiology magazine. I decided if I could create PowerPoints that people enjoyed, I could figure out how to write and publish a book. Time will tell if I was correct.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The ability to touch the heart of the reader and have them identify with me on the difficult road we call life. On my website I have a short story--nothing delights me more than to hear, "I enjoyed that so much--do you have something more I can read?"
What do your fans mean to you?
My few fan letters (yes, I have a couple) give me the energy to put fingers to keyboard.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a second book that will start exactly where Nothing Ventured ends. It will be a joyful book full of success stories of rescued dogs. I also have a children's series about Tuttle, the Turtle Who Would be a Dog--I want to complete those books.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Dry, impatient Dobe noses. Also my daughter has a little girl who lights up each and every day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, training dogs, obsessing over house issues and praying--without the Lord, I'm nothing.
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