I spend a great deal of time planning in my head. It took ten years of thinking before I began writing The Gifted Ones. Once I complete the first draft, I like to let it be and work on another book, sometimes for months. I want to forget what happens in the story before I return to edit the rough draft. It can take up to two years for me to complete a novel due to the editing. I want to write a good story, but I also want my readers to be able to read it. Once I feel it's complete, I will submit it.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
That's a tough question because I've read so many. I'll have to select these five based on character development and plot.
Watchers by Dean Koontz- I love dogs, suspense and action. This is probably my all time favorite because of Einstein. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz- I relate to Odd, that's all I can say. The book is so unique and Odd's world is brilliantly created. Maniac Magee- Another great character backed by a story filled with historical content I can relate to. Harry Potter- Yes, that is on the list. I love the characters, the world, the magic. Message in a Bottle- My first Sparks novel and who doesn't love a good romance?
What do you read for pleasure?
Books. I read books of all kinds for pleasure. It's getting harder to find books that interest me, but I stick with my favorite authors. There are so many books out there that just don't interest me after I start on them and I am very selective.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My IPad. I have the Kindle App on my IPad, but truthfully, I would rather read a paperback.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Festivals! I love traveling and meeting new people. I attend as many festivals locally as I can afford. I also love visiting schools and reading my books to the eager ears.Tweets and blog posts seem to produce the most sales, but I don't have much time for that.
Describe your desk
It's a mess! I can't work unless papers are scattered all over my desk. To my right is my coffee cup, this month's water bill, a bottle of rubber cement, pens, pencils, nail clippers, paper clips. In front of me is my cell phone--charging--a SiriusXm letter for my daughter's new car, my wallet--I just ordered books for a signing in Padre on April 12--a copy of The Gifted Ones The Dream. On my left is a stack of invitations for schools to schedule a reading in Fall 2015, a Sally T-shirt for a contest winner, an AARP letter for my husband, a thermometer and old cell phone, my alarm clock. You get the picture: I live at my desk. I must not forget my trusty friend, my computer and its two monitors. I've spent a great deal of my time with my lovely computer, spilling my guts, tears, and fears all over its keyboard!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
A native Californian, the biggest influence on my writing and creativity happened during my years in Minnesota. I discovered the connection one could feel with a book character when I was interested in becoming a professional ice skater and read a book about a young girl's dream and efforts to do the same. Books and characters helped me see that I wasn't alone in my thoughts. Others out there were like me, felt like me, wanted the same things I did. I was much the introvert, and still am. The character connection was very important to me when I was young and I think it influenced me to help others connect with someone through my characters.
When did you first start writing?
At age seven I wrote a poem for a contest in the newspaper and I won. The paper published my poem and from that point on I wanted more! I kept writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Are you sure you want to ask that? It's a sad one.
During the big Y2K scare, I sat at my mom's dining room table with her and my sister. We were waiting for my nieces' release from school. I brought up this idea I had for a book and the brainstorming session was on. Before the girls arrived, the book had turned into six books. The beginnings of a series were in play in my mind, stewing away, losing me for hours to a world of fantasy.
I began the draft of the first book in 2002, lost my oldest niece in 2003, my sister in 2004--half of my team of brainstormers gone, I put it aside. I couldn't work on it. It hurt too much. I worked on other books. Then one day, my mom asked me how the series was coming and I told her I hadn't worked on it. She knew. I began working on it again. Then I lost my mom in 2011. I put the first book aside, again. I had the rough draft completed, but I couldn't do it.
After a few months of grieving, I decided it was time to finish the series--for them. They were so instrumental in helping me with ideas. I had to complete it.
The Fairytale came out in 2012, The Dream--my latest--in 2014. The series turned into a trilogy and the third rough draft will be completed in May, after which, it will stew and I will edit, and it probably won't be out until 2016. The last three female characters will have familiar names, too.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm intelligent and a do-it-yourselfer. After so many close calls with book publishers and agents--it always seemed like I was just what they wanted and then not quite right for them--I decided to put my books out there for the readers on my own. It's not that complicated of a process. I have learned quite a bit in doing so, though. It has also inspired me to a non profit business idea that I would like to start on soon, but business has never been my greatest trait...
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy? Losing myself in my characters and their stories right up to the end. When I completed the first rough draft of my first novel, Moon Thief, I rose from my chair and jumped up and down. It was only 45,000+ words, but oh, what a rush! I wrote an entire draft of a middle grade novel! i celebrated like it was just accepted by a publisher! That is my greatest joy. Second would be hearing about character connections from my readers. One woman wrote about Cheater--a main character in The Gifted Ones The Fairytale--that she "wanted to take her in her arms and hold her." That's what I strive for and those are my greatest joys!
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean everything to me! I take their words to heart and page.
Last year, I took The Gifted Ones to a local ComiCon and three teenage fans stopped by the table to visit. One of the young men told me, "It's not really a superhero theme without one character in spandex." Hm...
I honored his wishes. The opening of the third book involves one of the final six wearing a superhero costume and I love the opening! So, my fans are who I write for and if they want it, they get it.
What are you working on next?
Actually, I have two projects going. The third book in The Gifted Ones and a commemorative picture book, honoring the Texas Word Wranglers Book Festival, called Sally the Travelin' Saddle.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.