In high school, I memorized the poem, Demain des l'aube by Victor Hugo because I loved it so much. In college, I wrote a research paper on Victor Hugo and was disgusted with his womanizing ways. Later, I was reminded of his poem by something and started wondering: what if he had not written that poem? Who would have written it? I saw a movie about his daughter Adele, and then started doing some more research on her. Her life was so fascinating! The story grew from there.
What are you working on next?
Wilde Wagers is the working title. Because of a wager initiated by Oscar Wilde, actress Olivia Snow travels to a country weekend with aristocrat Philip Lamb, pretending to be his sister Genevieve. Can she fool the guests? When a woman is murdered, Olivia is the prime suspect. Meanwhile, back in London, Genevieve pretends to be the actress Olivia, a deception that gets her into some trouble. The story is light-hearted and silly: a cross between the plays of Oscar Wilde and the romances of Georgette Heyer.
What is your writing process?
I don't write every day. I try to have at least one four-hour block a week for writing. The other days of the week, I think a lot about my story and my characters, so that when my writing day comes, I can hit the ground running. It seems to work pretty well for me. It usually takes me a couple of years to finish a first draft plus another couple of years of revision. When my kids are grown, I think this process will go a little faster.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I teach English part-time at my local university and I'm a volunteer reading tutor for both children and adult learners. My hobbies include swimming, biking, hiking and traveling. I'm an avid reader of all genres, for children and adults.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is a very difficult question, and if I replied to this on a different day, I might give you a completely different answer. I love so many books. Here are a few of them: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion Why? I admire good writing and well developed characters, a plot that surprises and keeps you reading, and a happy ending--or at least an ending that feels right within the context of the story.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I belong to several Facebook discussion groups, and I love to get suggestions from readers. If you pay attention, it is obvious which posts are promotional advertisements and which are recommendations from readers who loved the book. This is how I discovered Susanna Kearsley, one of my favorite authors. I also follow the children's book market closely, reviews on School Library Journal and some mock Newbery lists, which give me suggestions for new children's books to read.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Not really. I started writing at about the same time I started reading, which was quite young. I recently came across a story I wrote when I was ten, about a dog who had a cat for a friend and took some heat for it. I have no memory of having written it, but I was happy to see that my values have stayed so consistent--and that I have improved greatly as a writer!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember reading Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham on an airplane when I was five. I was frustrated by the fact that the author kept saying the same thing over and over--ha! How has this influenced my writing? I do try to avoid repeating myself.
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything! Because I write in different genres, I try to focus my reading in that genre while I'm writing, but I have a hard time limting myself like that.
How do you approach cover design?
I hire an expert.
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