Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent my childhood in England. My parents sent me to British public school which boosted my love for literature because I studied classic novels at a young age. Our headmaster read Dickens and Kipling novels to us daily, and he hung the authors' portraits on the walls of our classroom to further inspire us.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The amazing gift of a new day and the ideas in my head.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being away from the world in a creative hot spot.
What is your greatest inspiration?
I am inspired by the amazing transformations human beings are capable of. I have met people who overcame life circumstances that did not seem possible. Yet, the human spirit, being what it is, moves people to become heroes in spite of their challenges.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Thinking about writing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember the first book I ever read on my own that had a huge impact on me. The novel "Of Human Bondage" moved my young sixth-grade brain into the maiden voyage of the human condition that I never forgot. I was touched, horrified, enlivened and inspired. Shouldn't a great book take you on a journey into the deepest passions of human existence?
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything. I pull books from Goodreads and review them for new authors. I also have books by my bedside. Right now I am reading THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS by Elizabeth Gilbert, and WITHOUT A DOUBT by Marcia Clark when I climb into bed.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Things picked up for me when I started helping other authors. Before that, I got into a funk after I published my book. I didn't understand how to get reviews, how to market, or even how to network with others. One day I asked myself:: "How are you helping new authors who feel the same way?" That's when I decided to review other books and help promote authors on my blog. Check it out at https://www.surfsupbookshelves.com
How do you approach cover design?
In the case of my book THE TWILIGHT TSUNAMI, I described my character and his emotions to an artist. To my amazement, she captured his emotions completely. I had her finish his portrait by surrounding him with clues to the book. I love what she created.
Describe your desk
My desk is a round glass table that sits by the front door. Next to it is a screen door that allows me to look out at pine trees and meadows. My only interruptions are the cats who look in at me and meow, or the breezes blowing through the trees as the branches dance and sway to the wind.
What are you proudest of as a writer?
I am proud that I finally finished my first book. I put it away many times, but I could not get the characters out of my head. They nagged me to get them out into the world. I fought so hard with them that I felt sick sometimes. Honestly, sometimes they were like a terrible family that anyone in their right mind would want to run away from. Finally, I figured if I finished the book, they would go away. They did for awhile, but they are back again. I am considering putting them into a sequel. Why? My readers have asked me to, and get this, I am still thinking about them after all this time. They overcame a lot and became heroes in their own rights. Readers say my book has strong characters in it. You betcha!
What is the hardest part of being a writer?
The hardest part of being a writer is having me as a boss. I don't give myself a clock to punch into, no paycheck or incentive to inspire me. Just the muse, which appears at all hours, or decides to slow down for awhile. Yet I know and trust it is always there, and I trust it will lead me when it is time. Often, as a result of the writing process, I feel out of step with the world around me. That is another hard part of being a writer.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story of people caught up in the system of social services. Everyone has a unique role when children are removed from their parents. The social workers have to handle a lot of stress as emotions fly around them, children have to adjust to new homes as they lose everything familiar to them, biological parents must overcome many hurdles in order to get their children out of foster care, and foster parents have much to adapt to, as they well-meaningly enmesh themselves into a system that is often difficult and overwhelming to navigate. This all sounds depressing, but this book is also surprising and funny, happy and hopeful, and even adventurous. My intention in writing this book was not to sadden the world, but instead, to show the possibilities when people are willing to open up and take risks.
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