Dr. Seuss was my earliest influence, and my parents signed me up for a bookclub that only sent a few books at a time. By the time the new ones arrived, I’d completely memorized the previous set. To this day, I can quote from them all. The next truly influential book I read was titled, “My Darling, My Hamburger”, by Paul Zindel. I was twelve years old, and the book not only shocked me, it opened my eyes to the harsh reality of being a teenager (almost!). The next game changer for me was “The Women's Room” by feminist author Marilyn French. This book validated everything I felt inside, and empowered me in a way nothing since has been able to do. During high school, I devoured “Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger. Then, someone handed me a copy of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream” by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. There has never been a work, or a man, more influential in my life since. If my desire to write can be attributed to anything or any single person, it would be Thompson.
Who are some of your favorite Authors?
Stephen King, of course, Koontz, and Thomas Harris all make the top of the list. I also have an insatiable passion for John Grisham.
If you could give one piece of advice to new Authors, what would that be?
Don’t stop. It’s as simple as that. No matter how many closed doors, brick walls, and roadblocks you encounter along the way – never stop writing.
Your books are all dedicated to the same person, but you only list initials. Who is/was this person?
My husband, Tracy Swanlund, (March 11, 1960 - June 17, 2011). I list him by the initials J.T. because that was his preferred user name online. He was there by my side through every word, every scene, and every character. He was my greatest fan, and he will be eternally missed. He will always be my Muse, whispering in my ear.
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