Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I spend my days in the world of information technology, focusing on infrastructure and architecture, but evenings and weekends you’ll find me murdering and maiming. My creed? The only good character is a tortured one.
Through many years of disrupting lives and inflicting angst, I’ve written two books and published one of them.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My suspense novel is titled TOURIST TRAPPED. I had worked on another manuscript for eight years and hit a wall. I needed to rewrite the first third of the novel, but couldn’t translate the ideas onto paper.
To clear my head, I decided to tackle NaNoWriMo and play around with a new story. The members of a master class I had participated in had fallen in love with one of my secondary characters, the spunky Amanda Sloane, so I designated her as my new protagonist. Infusing a little heartburn into her life, I gave Amanda a half-sister she resented, and then guilted Amanda into hunting for the despised sister who vanished in the Yucatan.
I spent the first half of November developing the backstory for the new cast of characters, so I didn’t make my 50k word count, but I made it to 25k and fell in love with the story. At that point, I knew I had to finish TOURIST TRAPPED.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Sometimes when I have a big scene I need to write, I don’t let myself think too much about it before I sit down and begin. I want to watch the scene unfold in my head as I write it. Sort of like watching a movie–except the popcorn leaves my keyboard greasy!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
There are so many, but I’ll mention a few that come to mind. The first scenes of THE HORSE WHISPERER and THE FIXER yanked me into those books. Stieg Larsson impressed me with his ability to make me cheer for a character as hopelessly flawed as Lisbeth Salander. J. K. Rowling’s deep backstory for the Harry Potter series is beyond amazing. I like Sandra Brown’s ability to create multidimensional characters, and Dean Koontz’s vivid descriptions.
What are you working on now?
On November 1, I join writers all over the world in taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge again! I’ll begin the first draft of the second book of the Trapped trilogy.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m new to the world of promotion, but so far I’ve found my email lists to be the most effective method to share information about my novel. The most fun experience was seeing a front page article about me in my hometown paper!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Find mentors you trust. They can be in the form of critique groups, writing partners, instructors, etc. You need feedback to determine your strengths, and where you have opportunities to improve–and don’t take constructive criticism personally. Learn from it!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write that first draft. You can edit later. Get the story down on paper. NOW!
What are you reading now?
I’m rereading SCENT AND SHADOW by Mercy Loomis. I’m not usually one to read vampire novels, but hers is well written and the characters are multi-dimensional. Mercy builds a complicated, tumultuous relationship between the two main characters. I love it!
What’s next for you as a writer?
I have a couple of short stories begging for my attention, a set of personal essays I’ve promised my editor, and, of course, books two and three of the Trapped trilogy.
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?
My OXFORD DICTIONARY and THE SYNONYM FINDER because I can’t imagine writing without them. I’d also take THE BEST POEMS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, because I’d finally have the time to sit down and soak them in. Finally, I’d take the book I’ve carried with me for most of my life, my grandmother’s copy of SARA CREWE.