What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
To me that is harder than stating my favorite movie. I love books that take me on a journey and surprise me.
I’m a fan of Karen M. McManus, One of is Lying and Lauren Oliver’s, Panic. I love books that put females in the center of every story.
The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood is right up there with The Help and I loved Janet Fitch’s book, White Oleander, and the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve read every Nicholas Sparks book and loved every minute of The Firm and A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins and Wool series by Hugh Howey and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens are some recent favorites. I also love Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Selections that focus on women authors and female protagonists.
What book do you think everyone should read?
Well, A Deep Thing or Pseudocide by A.K. Smith would be great to be on everyone’s list, if a writer doesn’t believe their book should be on everyone’s list, no one else will.
How long have you been writing?
I have journaled and created stories since I was a kid. But, in the last ten years, I made it a priority. Making it a priority and acting on it made it happen.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? I try to create character sketches of my main characters before I write, but as the story develops, some characters creep in and I have to include them.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I am a researcher. In fact, the more I research the more ideas flow. It’s gathering the research together that develops my story. I read books, watch movies, and google everything!
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, it is what I love to do, and I hope I can do it the rest of my life as a successful career.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
What I think, is there are so many great books out there, that is often difficult to get your book to stand out. But, if you can find enough fans, and you have a great story something good can happen.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
Yes, I love to read, and I will read most fiction genres where I can learn something or go somewhere or that opens my mind to. My go to genre is twisty suspense-- especially if it has a beach, an island, or an ocean as it’s setting. I also love magical realism and a twist of sci-fi. I love adventure stories with heart, that introduce me to somewhere new.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise?
I love the focus playlist on Spotify. However, sometimes I like to make a playlist for each book.
Why? My books playlist is something I share with my characters, my readers and they help set the mood or setting of the book. They also bring back great memories.
Do you write one book at a time, or do you have several going at a time?
Oh, I have several going at a time and then pick one to focus and finish.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
I read The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks for the first time when I was young, and it was such a great story, that I wished I would have written it. But, I also remember my first Dean Koontz novel, Whispers which made me so tense, that I wondered how I could make someone feel those emotions from words on paper.
Pen or type writer or computer?
Wow, Computer all the way, I can’t imagine pen, I wouldn’t be able to read my own handwriting.
A day in the life of the author?
Writing is a very solitary job. Mix it up, set a schedule to write then get up and move around and then stick to your writing schedule.
Advice they would give new authors?
Don’t give up, keep writing
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I have tried both outlining and writing with a general idea of plot. I think a rough outline works best for me, however outlines morph into their own path as I write. I believe every new writer should try out both methods, to see what works for them.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I think giving up is a common trap. My advice is to go somewhere quiet, set a 30-minute alarm on your phone and just write. If it’s going well, do another 30 minutes, schedule this in every day and by the end of 6 months you will probably have a rough draft. A common mistake is thinking once you have the rough draft your novel is done. Oh, it’s only just begun, but at least you have something to work with. Don’t give up and don’t let others bring you down. Also, you must work with a good editor.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Wow, if I could time travel, I would tell my young self to start writing a book in high school. Would I listen? Hopefully. Imagine how many books I could have written if I only started when I was younger!
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
If I could write fulltime, I could finish a novel in 3-6 months, but unfortunately life and other priorities get in the way. My two completed books have taken several years. My other suggestion, is to try to keep writing even when you are working on the finished rough draft, spend a little time on the next one, even if it’s just doing the research for an hour a day.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely does not exist in my mind, not having enough time to write is my only block.