I've always wanted to be a writer. I come by my storytelling abilities and interests naturally. My dad told wonderful bedtime stories about Bushy Tail Squirrel--his variation on the Br'er Rabbit stories, and he wrote an often humorous hunting column for the local newspaper.
Supper involved Southern tale-spinning from various family members. Coming from a large family and being quiet in comparison to my talkative family members, I tended to tell my stories only to myself.
As I grew older, I fell in love with horses and books, and I wrote my first novel about a horse. WINGED KING was a whopping ten pages long in large hand-printed letters.
My inner stories soon involved my favorite TV characters, and I created a whole universe of different characters to interact with them. When I realized that Mr. Spock from STAR TREK and Artemis Gordon from THE WILD, WILD WEST couldn't really meet, I solved my problem by making many of my own characters members of a long-lived alien race of time travelers--the Immortals.
My passion for books led me into graduate school as a literature major, and I used what little time and creative energy I had left to write poetry and an occasional short story, but I promised myself that one day I'd write the novels I had floating around my head.
After my dad died from cancer, I realized that life was too short not to write those novels. A month after his death, I began my first novel.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love to write. I love the movie playing in my head as I type as fast as I can. I love to be surprised by something one of my characters says and does.
After the book is published, I love to hear that some reader made it through a difficult time by reading one of my books, or it changed their life.
Who are your favorite authors?
I am a literary omnivore. I read most genres as well as classic fiction. Classic authors--Hawthorne, James Fennimore Cooper, Jane Austin. Romance--Mary Balogh, Ronda Thompson, and Delores Fossen. Urban fantasy--Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews, and Patricia Briggs. Romantic suspense--Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz. Paranormal mystery--JL Bryan, Heather Graham, and Victoria Laurie.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to read, naturally. I watch way too much TV. I'm also an organic gardener. My extended family is very important to me.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I real lots of reviews and belong to a number of reader lists like firstname.lastname@example.org. There's also email lists like BookBub and Fussy Librarian.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
WINGED KING about a race horse and his girl. It was ten whopping pages long, cliched as heck, and I loved it.
What is your writing process?
I'm a plotter but only create a structure for my story and allow my imagination to fill in the rest.
As a writing teacher, I write quite a bit about my process as well as answering writing questions at my blog, Adventures in Writing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I read quite a bit as a child before one book made a major impact on me. It was a story called THE SECRET HORSE. It woke me to the pleasure of reading, and I've been a bookaholic ever since
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I started with one of the original Rocketbooks. Yes, I've been reading ebooks that long. Right now, I used a Barnes and Noble Nook tablet.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I dreamed of a boat explosion and a woman, aboard it, outlined by its flames, her hair blazing upward like some goddess of death's. The images were so powerful they woke me.
As I lay awake thinking about them, my inner curious writer asked, "Why was she on that boat? Who is she? Why did the boat blow up?" Then the most important question a writer can ask came to me. "What happens next?"
The answers became my romantic suspense novel, GUARDIAN ANGEL.
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