Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a high school teacher who lives near Portland, Oregon. My husband and I have been together for more than 25 years, and our daughter is a sixth grader. We love watching movies together, going to Disneyworld, taking road trips, and just hanging out as a family. I’ve written the first book in my women’s fiction series, the first of a series of middle-grade books with my 12-year-old daughter as co-author, and a contemporary YA novel under a pen name. The second books in both my women’s fiction series and our middle grade series are coming out this summer.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is called “There’s Always a Catch: Christmas Key Book One”–I wrote the first incarnation of this book in 2008, and I’ve worked it over a number of times in the intervening years. After changes of characters, names, and plot lines, it’s finally all that I wanted it to be. The location (a fictional island called “Christmas Key” off the coast of Florida) never changed, and many of the secondary characters are the same, but it grew and shape-shifted over the years until I found myself wanting to spend as much time there as possible. I suppose it was ultimately inspired by the decade that my husband and I spent living in Florida, as well as my love of beaches and islands.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m a full-blown “pantser”–I sit and write anything that comes out. I’ve tried a number of times to plot and organize, but beyond creating playlists to listen to and inspiration boards full of pictures and ideas to look at, it has to just fly out of my fingers without forethought. I wish I could create fully fleshed-out story boards and outlines, but…part of the fun for me is finding out what happens to my characters as I go!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I love books with time travel elements, and my favorites are “Replay” by Ken Grimwood, and “11/22/63” by Stephen King. I’m also a big fan of women’s fiction in general–anything where I can really see things through the eyes of the main character and relate to her in some way.
What are you working on now?
Book two of my “Christmas Key” series is nearly done. I just finalized the cover today, and I can’t wait to put it out. It’s been exciting how quickly this book has come alive after the years and years that I tinkered with “There’s Always a Catch.” My daughter and I are also working on the second book in our middle grade series. That one is fun because it’s a totally different voice and process when you write with another person.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m not sure I’ve hit on the “best” way yet. I’ve tried a few of the ones I read about on Kboards, and I’ve spent a few dollars here and there without having any big “wow” returns. Honestly, the best sales days I have are the days when one of my real-life friends posts on Facebook with a link to my book on Amazon and tells their friends to read it!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Keep at it. Write, learn, take criticism, write more, repeat. Be willing to hire someone to do the things you can’t. Most importantly: study, read, try to decipher the self-publishing processes and tricks, and hope for that magical lightning bolt of luck to merge with your effort and create magic!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself.” –Anne Rice
What are you reading now?
A book about self-publishing and a paperback by Jodi Picoult that I found in the house where we vacationed on spring break. Oh-and about a thousand magazines…the pile is always growing!
What’s next for you as a writer?
I want to keep integrating writing into my daily routine. I’ve gotten to where I sit down with my writing or with the promotion/book details end of things every single day. I would love it if I could find the magic formula to discover visibility on Amazon, and it would make me so happy if people discovered my books and loved them.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
“Anne of Green Gables” by LM Montgomery; the whole “Rabbit” series by John Updike bound into a single book so that it only counts as one (sneaky!); “Replay” by Ken Grimwood; “Green Squall” by Jay Hopler.