Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m going to publish my nineteenth book in November 2016. The first was called “But the Children Survived.” A picture of my granddaughter on my refrigerator was the inspiration for that book. I was looking at it, and I suddenly saw her running down the hallway of my mobile home holding my small dog. That was the beginning. I wrote the book for my family and included almost every member of my family as a character in the book.
I spent the early years of my childhood in Pennsylvania and Connecticut and the later years in New Jersey. I’ve used locations in all three, as well as my current location in Florida.
When I finished school, I worked in a place called Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck where I met my husband, Hans. He was a baker, and when he saw me walk in the bakery for the first time, he turned to the guy working next to him and said, “That’s the girl I’m gonna marry.” We had two boys, Andrew and Thomas, and spent several years in Ocean County, New Jersey. While I was raising my sons, I worked in retail locations, and have used those experiences in my writing.
I live with my hubby and two non-human roommates. Trixie is a mixed terrier who was the inspiration for Baby Girl in But the Children Survived and Libby the Psychic dog, and Sammy, my fabulous feline companion. I also have four grandchildren who continue to inspire me.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
I’m releasing a book soon called “What She Deserved,” a contemporary paranormal mystery. When my son was sixteen, he suffered a head injury, and his recovery inspired me to write a character called Marigold Burnside.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
My living room is my office. I write in my recliner with a wireless keyboard and mouse.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I read James A. Michener’s “Hawaii” when I was eleven. I can still remember parts of that book, and I went on to read almost all his books. I also liked Taylor Caldwell, Betty Smith, and everyone’s favorite, Harper Lee. Caldwell and Michener wrote long, descriptive passages, and I tend to do that. I’ve learned over the last three years to tighten up my writing, but I still get carried away sometimes.
What are you working on now?
My next release, “What She Deserved,” is in the editing process. The story is about Marigold Burnside who suffers a head injury in a car crash while on assignment for a TV show she works for called Historical Homicides. After the accident, she’s left with gaps in her memory and other problems associated with a severe head injury, including an ability to see ghosts. Because of her mental problems, Mari is fired, and a friend encourages her to look into the murder she was sent to learn about for the TV show.
In 1941, a young woman named Charlotte Johnson was brutally murdered in her seaside cottage. Another woman was charged and convicted of the murder, and now her spirit is visiting Mari. Soon, Mari realizes that the ghost visiting her is that of Celia Morton, the woman convicted of Charlotte’s death. Celia’s persistence intrigues Mari, who decides to look into the “solved” murder and discovers that things in the small town of Cape Alden were not as they seemed.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’ve had a good response from the KDP free promotions. I feel it gets my book noticed and on the lists of “customers who bought this also bought” section on the product pages of other books. Facebook is a useful tool, and of course, sites like Awesome Gang where readers can find new authors.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Pace yourself. You’re gonna want to know everything so you can get it all down and then “write.” It’s good to read articles on marketing, etc., but don’t get so caught up that you forget why you wanted to write in the first place. Writing should be fun. Let yourself go when you write. Forget the rules because they can be applied when you edit, and always find someone to read your book before you publish. They might see something that makes perfect sense to you, but is incomprehensible to them, which makes reading your book a chore instead of a treasure.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The advice I offered above – to enjoy writing and forget the rules for the first draft. I can see the difference between what I wrote four years ago and what I’m writing now. The stories are easier to read because I’m enjoying myself.
What are you reading now?
I’m not reading anything right now. I have to get “What She Deserved” done first. If I read while I’m writing a book, I find myself imitating the person I’m reading when I write.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’d like to write another book about Marigold Burnside and Libby the Psychic Dog. People like Libby and she, or rather he (Lord Percival Plep, the reincarnated English lord who inhabits Libby’s body) is fun to write.
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?