Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in central Virginia and my family moved to the midwest when I was 12. I went from being a social pariah in my old home to being popular in my new home and it changed my life forever. With a new positive attitude and with appreciation from my new friends for my creative abilities, I began to explore art and writing much more seriously than I ever had before.
It's no accident that my first two novels are set in a small midwestern town. That's where I finally felt I did have a home town.
When did you first start writing?
I don't really remember not writing. My brothers and I created newspapers and satirical pamphlets about various obnoxious neighbors from an early age. My first published writing was a comic retelling of the story of Macbeth in verse, for a school literary magazine when I was in seventh grade. I went on to have articles published in local newspapers when I was in junior high, high school and college, and worked on the school newspaper staff in high school as well.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I liked the idea of being the one who decided whether my work got published. No waiting by the mailbox (or the inbox) for my manuscripts to be returned to me. Plus, I've always been a very independent person... just ask my family and friends. :)
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I love Smashwords. It makes the creation of e-books about as simple as it could possibly be, and the fact that I can offer every available format for my books is pure gold. It's the place I recommend to all my potential readers, even though my books are available on other sites.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting the stories out of my imagination and onto the page. Sometimes when I'm writing my characters do and say things that I didn't consciously plan. I am continually amazed at the things that show up in my stories without my having intended them to appear.
What do your fans mean to you?
There is nothing like having someone tell me they liked my books. It's like all the holidays in the world rolled into one. Fans don't realize what their approval can mean to an author who's wondering if there's anyone out there. :)
What are you working on next?
The next book is going to be.... long. It's a multigenerational story that starts in 1902 and ends in 1980 and covers the lives of four women. It's based on my own family, so there's plenty of material to draw from.
Who are your favorite authors?
Diana Gabaldon, Rex Stout, Evelyn Eaton, David Gerrold, Harlan Ellison, James Tabor, Bart Ehrman, Michael Connelly.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I have writing to do!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading as much as I can. I also work as a copy editor and manage online forums, and I go places and do things with my family.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Browsing, mostly. It's what I do in public libraries as well--just walk down an aisle and grab something that catches my eye.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No. It was a really long time ago. :)
What is your writing process?
I don't really have a "process" that I can define. Either I have something specific in mind to write, or I look back over some previous part of the story and think about it and go on from there. I do my most connected writing when I can have the house and/or the office to myself.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I remember is Richard Scarry's Rabbit and his Friends... which isn't about a rabbit at all.
I recently bought that book for my granddaughter because I remembered it fondly for all these years.
How do you approach cover design?
Open up Photoshop Elements and start playing with pictures from the story.
I think my best design is the one I created for my grandmother's book Every Month Was May, and it was easy because I had a vintage photo of my grandmother to include in it.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I don't think I can name just five. I started reading before I was three, and I'm now pushing 66, so that's a long time and a lot of books! My library cards are the most used cards in my wallet and I generally have anywhere from 3 to 10 books checked out at a time. I like both fiction and nonfiction and I'm always looking to learn something new.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, history and books about computers and technology. Plus whatever it is that Diana Gabaldon's books are. :)
What is your e-reading device of choice?
10" Samsung Galaxy Tab. But I also have a small Windows 10 tablet that fits into my bag more easily than the Samsung.
Describe your desk
It's a table that we scrounged. Wide enough to hold two computer systems (PC and Mac) plus assorted personal tchotchkes.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.