The Christmas Journey, which is a short story, not a book, was written shortly before my grandmother died in 2012. My intention was to publish it in the 2012 Christmas time, but I shelved the story because every time I thought of the story, it reminded me of my grandmother. However, this year, as we celebrated her memory at the one year mark of her passing, I remembered the story, edited it, and published it. I had my doubts. I thought the story might be too heavy, which, for a short story, readers might shy away from. I've been surprised to see it land on so many e-readers this year. So, to answer the question, "What is the story behind my latest story?" - The story is that love, devotion, faith, and the doubting of that faith, is all a part of my relationship with God.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I enjoy allowing my creative side to run amok. I'll have a general idea of how I want a story to start, or end, or I'll picture one specific scene, and then I'll trust my brain to come up with the rest. I really enjoy thinking on the fly and coming up with interesting things. The greatest joy about writing is that it truly makes me feel complete. I would feel lost without my writing.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a series of short stories for an anthology workshop coming in 2014. Also, I have several novellas to either edit, re-write, and start-up again. As a writer, I keep a notebook in my purse and near my bedside to jot down ideas. I've never been without ideas, but I must write them down or they vanish into some nether world.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My family is involved in the Boy Scouts. We hike, camp, and go to sporting events. Individually, I enjoy reading and doing other crafts, like drawing, watercoloring, and listening to music.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Friends and family. I like GoodReads - they are doing it right, I think. Also, I'll spend a good amount of time looking at recommendations on ebook sites. Great places to find my next read are SF/F e-zines, like Shimmer, Clarkesworld, and FictionRiver.
What do you read for pleasure?
Ok, this is a trick question... If I'm reading something, it is because it gives me pleasure. Sadly, I'm not someone that can read something if it doesn't give me something in return - i.e., pleasure! My guilty pleasures are romance, urban fantasy, and fantasy. I enjoy reading great YA books. Also, I love reading magazines (I have too many subscriptions). People Magazine, InStyle, Allure. In a different direction, a great pleasure of mine is seeing my son (who is 6) get into reading. So I've read (to him) (or read by him) almost all the boy & bug stories out there. :)
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Before I answer "where", I'll answer "how". HOW did I grow up? Very poor. I grew up in Texas in a town that, as a whole, was so poor we didn't know we were poor. I mean, getting out of that town and that poverty meant I had to join the military... Anyway... My mother, who is a huge reader in the romance genre, would get books from neighbors and our church, and my growing-up years were full of reading books that were 1) way over my age limit and 2) um... improper. In hindsight, I'll even submit that reading these books kept me away from boys, which, in a town where most of the girls were pregnant while in high school, allowed me to grow up on my own time. Growing up poor and in Texas, I suppose it influences my writing now in that I like there to be a great disparity within my story. Maybe an underdog theme. Maybe someone overcomes adversity, or poverty. But, probably more than anything, I like to think that I can conjure a wide range of emotions and thoughts and life-circumstances (for my characters) because I lived that way.
When did you first start writing?
I was very young. Ten years old or younger. I would create make-up worlds and want to live in them. I don't know if I hated my life so much that I would rather live in some make believe world, but it wasn't hard for me to create these worlds in my head. Some of my first writings were poems. Terrible, horrible, crafted poems. Probably about love. I remember that I was VERY keen on rhyming words. I mean, it turned into an art form for me. I could think up, for hours, words that might possibly rhyme. I'm not so bad these days, but I do get a kick out of finding unusual words that rhyme.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I'll read on my laptop, my iPod, and my Kindle. I would say the Kindle is the primary choice, but my new iPod certainly helps when I need to waste 15 minutes and find something to do.
Do you have any bad habits?
Now why would I admit this? I have many. I bite my nails and the cuticles around my nails as if I'm a starving person. Also, while coffee isn't a bad habit, I drink way too much of it that someone somewhere that I may happen to be married to might happen to think it is a bad habit.
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