Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Greetings Awesome Readers!
Here’s an odd story about how I got started writing novels. I had a freelance writing and editing business for ten years. I wanted to get into editing novels as opposed to the non-fiction I’d been working on, because novels are my passion. A friend said, “If you want to know the challenges of a fiction writer, you should try writing some yourself.”
Seemed like good advice–although I had never written any fiction, not even a short story–and had no idea if I could do it or not. A few hours later a glimmer of an idea came to me and I sat down and started writing. Ten thousand words later, I realized working on this story was the most fun I’d ever had in my life! A year later, my first novel, The Girl With the Half and Half Face was complete. You can get it for free by signing up for the author newsletter on my website.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book, published on New Year’s Day, is The Ivory Needle. After writing my first novel, I struggled coming up with the right title for it. One day, in the middle of my title search, I was reading an article that mentioned needles were once made of bone or ivory, not metal. And that an ivory needle dating back 30,000 years was found at an archaeological dig in Russia. I thought, “The Ivory Needle… now that’s a great book title. What could it be about?”
Within moments, bits and pieces of the story started coming in. At one point, it felt as if the pieces of the story were hanging around me, intangible and unrealized, waiting for me to pull them into existence. Although I’ve now had many ideas for novels, I’ve never had an experience quite like that one before or since. I hope I’ve done these ideas justice in the published version of the book. Maybe you’ll read it and let me know?
What authors, or books have influenced you?
A bookworm at an early age, there have been too many authors and books that have inspired me to list. Dr. Seuss, Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew), sRobert Parker, James Clavell, Phillipa Gregory, John Grisham, Steven King and many more. Then there’s Harry Potter (of course!), The Hunger Games, the list can go on and on. However, I think my biggest literary influence has actually been from a movie adaptation: The Wizard of Oz. I’ve seen it more than twenty times and continually find its ideas and themes creeping stealthily into everything I write.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the second book of a YA sci-fi duology, called The Last Goldeneye. The first book in the series, The Nectar, will be released summer of 2017. Here’s a tiny little teaser:
Two teens, separated by 150 years, connected by a journal that holds the secret to survival in a post-apocalyptic Earth where bees are extinct and mankind teeters on the edge of starvation.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Speaking as both author and editor, my best and only advice would be: Learn your craft!
I believe that writing takes both talent and skill. Talent you’re born with, to a more or less degree, but writing skills must be learned, practiced, sharpened, and honed over time. I don’t think talent is enough. So learn your craft.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“As an entrepreneur, if someone asks you to do something, you say YES first. Figure out how to do it second.” This advice stands me in good stead as an independent author, writing, designing, publishing, and marketing my own books.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading an as-yet unpublished sci-fi novel by a writer buddy of mine, titled The Calling.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I have another novel idea that I am fleshing out, even as I am writing The Last Goldeneye. I’m hoping to publish The Nectar and The Last Goldeneye in 2017 and — surprise surprise — I am hoping they will find an audience of delighted and enthusiastic readers.
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?
Oooh, the desert island question. I would take The Mists of Avalon, by the fabulous Marian Zimmer Bradley. I would take the whole Harry Potter series. (Is that cheating?) Okay, at this point I have to make a confession. I don’t really like reading the same book over and over. I know many people do… but twice is about all I’ll ever read a book for pleasure. I think I’d have to take 3 or 4 blank books with me so I could keep writing.