Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have written seven novels, one novella and taken part in one anthology.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
THE SLIGHTLY ALTERED HISTORY OF CASCADIA is my newest novel, published fall of 2017. I primarily write mysteries, but this book is my first fantasy.
I believe world events have caused me to think a great deal about good and evil, and the unending conflict between them. This fantasy is about the gods admitting they screwed up in the creation of humans. They create a spirit whose job is to find out what’s wrong with people and fix the problem before the gods give up on the whole damn planet. The book was a lot of fun to write and hopefully, a lot of fun to read. How can you miss with a flying bear, a sexy Helen of Troy, a logging horse and a whole host of bad apples?
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
1. Coffee. Way too much coffee.
2. I ignore the good advice of getting the plot down then going back to revise. I plot and polish as I go, so it is a slow process.
3. I have a critique group I trust. It took a long time to find such a group but it is well worth the effort.
4. While writing, I go deaf. Doesn’t matter what the noise level around me is, I can tune it out.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Wow! This list could go on forever. But instead of thanking Shakespeare, here is the most immediate group.
1. I have written psychological fiction in LESSONS OF EVIL and A TIME OF SECRETS. I think Thomas H. Cook is brilliant at building a psychological story … give The Chatham School Affair a try.
2. For dark subjects, Andrew Vachss is a master at ‘open wounds’ as deeply as some things deserve.
3. I write a mystery series of PI Bear Jacobs books. I call them cozies with bite because beneath their humor, they tell dark stories. I believe Louise Penny’s series is a terrific example of modernized cozies. I love how she slowly laces her stories together, making the reader surrounded by her characters.
What are you working on now?
I am a genre jumper which, in terms of sales, is deadly to an author, but what the hell, it makes me happy. So I am working on a historic novel, set on the Oregon coast in the 1890s.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I pulled books off all other sites and stick with Kindle Select. This allows me to be part of the rental program. Since my books tend to hold readers, and since Amazon payments are in part related to number of pages read, I actually can make more on a book that is rented than sold.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
1. Learn to write deep. If you have to worry about what your mother will think, you won’t do your best work.
2. Know your goal. Knowing what you want to accomplish will lead you to making right decisions about how/when to publish.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
This may not be the best advice I ever heard, but it is the best I discovered:
Eavesdrop. If you are going to be good at dialog, listen to any conversation you can in which you are not a participant. Listen to the ebb and flow. I guarantee it will improve your dialog writing.
What are you reading now?
The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich
What’s next for you as a writer?
My friend Heidi Hansen and I have formed a group called Olympic Peninsula Authors which gives a voice to the many fine authors who work out here in the far NW corner of Washington State. We are editing for others, offering seminars, and helping them format for self-publishing.
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?
New York Times crossword puzzles
Still Life by Louise Penny
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Whatever Bill Bryson writes next