My next project is a book of short stories about an elderly lady named Cora Entwhistle. Pragmatic, outspoken and self-confident, Mrs. Entwhistle doesn't go looking for trouble - but somehow, it finds her. She gets swept up in the witness protection program; her dog, Roger, is stolen; her bossy adult children decide she's too old to drive; she gets stuck in an elevator with a bunch of strangers. Mrs. Entwhistle brooks no nonsense and suffers no fools, but as you get to know her, you'll discover her carefully-hidden soft heart.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is done in solitary confinement, so it's great to get reader feedback. When someone says they couldn't put my book down, or talks about one of my characters as though he or she is a real person, I feel we've made a connection. What could be more joyous than that?
Who are your favorite authors?
I've recently discovered an author new to me, Karen McQuestion. She started as an independently-published e-book writer and I find that inspiring. You know how sometimes when you start a book, you mentally relax, knowing you are in the good hands of an accomplished author? That's what I feel when I read McQuestion. I also love Ann Patchett, Anne Tyler, Maeve Binchy, Elizabeth Berg - so many great writers, so little time to read them all!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Who could face a new day without being eager to jump into it? Should this sunny viewpoint fail, well, I've got two little dogs who want to go out and eat breakfast, in that order. And right now.
What is your writing process?
I'm a "pantser," a writer who starts on page one with only a vague idea of where the book is going. What's fun about that, for me, is the flow that happens with forward motion. Characters surprise me. They take U-turns and run off the road, fade into the background or forge to the front. I never know. So I entertain myself first.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember the disappointment of seeing Spot run and Dick and Jane look. I was a pre-schooler who drove my family crazy with demands to "read to me!" and I couldn't wait to learn to read myself. Despite being traumatized by the infinitely boring textbooks then used in first grade, I managed to retain my love of the written word. Just not those written words.
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