I sit down at the keyboard and let it rip. However the story flows is how I write it. I don't worry about ourlining, word count or any of that in the first draft. I just want to get the story down. Editing can come later.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I was about fourteen and it was about four female friends. The main character's name was Quinn. (I never told my granddaughter this and thought it was interesting when she recently named her newborn daughter Audrey Quinn.)
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My mother said I could read simple stories by myself by the time I was three so I really don't remember the first one. I have read thousands of books over the years and many have had an impact on me in one way or another. A special memory is that when I was in the 7th grade in Grammar school (no middle school in those days) the school created the first ever certificate for the most books ever read (with book reports) by a student in the school year over and above assigned reading. I was called onstage and given this award at the 8th grade graduation ceremony. I still read 2 to 5 books a week.
How do you approach cover design?
I look at thousands of graphics looking for something that aligns with the feeling I have about the heart of the story. Once I find something that speaks to me, I start working with a designer.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Only five? First, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by by Carson McCullers, for so many reasons. McCullers took me into the hearts and minds of the rejected, forgotten, mistreated and oppressed and shows the soul-searing loneliness of their isolation. She shows the tenderness of loving someone completely without reciprocation and of the haunting yearning for acceptance and love and a connection to other human beings.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I have read this (long) book seven or eight times and I am still startled and facinated every time bythe accuracy of her piercing view into the future (her future/our now). Rand grapples with the fundamental problems of human existance in a framework of science fiction, mystery and romance. She puts a microscope to too much government, too much big brother control and runaway socialism and the devastation it brings to society. She has gained an immense fan club over the years with her piercing foresight into what is happening now, long after her death, and her radical solutions to the problems. This compelling story is a great read as Rand takes us on a journey to answer the question, "Who is John Galt?" A must read.(In my opinion, shoud be required reading for every high school student.)
Third, The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. This is not a book with a lot of action, nor is it about particularly admirable people, but it iis a compelling and reaistic story of one woman's life. She, like other characters in the book, is flawed, but I came to care about her as her story of ife, love and relationships unfolds. Pilcher provides an insightful and sometimes searing look at the intense, and sometimes tumultuous relationships between a mother and her children. . A classic tale that reveals emotions, values, tragedies and passion. The story made me thankful that my family is as functional and undramatic as it is.
Fourth, Shogun by James Clavell. Epic and filled action and emotion. Shogun captured my imagination from page one and transported me to ancient Japan for an intimate introduction to a totally different time and culture. It is the story of an Englishman stranded in a totally foreign culture and how he is slowly and subtly seduced by that culture until he becomes more Japanese than the Japanese. It has poignant moments of romance and heartache, adultery,lopped heads, severed torsos, assassins, intrigue, war, betrayal, tragic love, over-refined sex, torture, honor,and ritual suicide. Entertained me for days.
Fifth, The Holy Bible, for obvious reasons.
What do you read for pleasure?
Just about anything I can get my hands on, but top of the list is stories about relationships, between friends, families, lovers, people in general. I like Elin Hildebrand because she always delivers a good relationship story.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Describe your desk
Sits in front of a big window. The usual stuff with clutter. The only room in the house where clutter doesn't bother me.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was about twelve years old.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The bottom line reason was the length of time it takes for a tradionally published book to reach the reader.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love a new story and the fascination of new characters. It’s always fun to get acquainted with them and see what they will do as the story develops.
Who are your favorite authors?
Carson McCullers, Fannie Flagg, Lee Harper, James Clavell, Any Rand, John Steinbeck, I could go on and on.
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