Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My debut novel, Lying in Judgment, is being released March 5, 2016. Two more books are in the pipeline – The Mountain Man’s Dog, a crime thriller about a logger who gets dragged unwittingly into the world of politics, crime, romance, and dog ownership; and The Incident, about a woman who becomes a police officer to avenge her childhood experience of abuse.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Lying in Judgment is a legal thriller about a man serving on a jury for a murder trial, who discovers that the crime being tried is the one he committed. It was inspired by he realization that jurors cannot use information obtained outside of the trial – even if the information was gained firsthand. Deriving believable circumstances that could lead to that situation and the implications that would follow fascinated me, and I knew I had to write the book.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I write all of my first drafts with pen on paper, almost always in the morning after my first cup of coffee. While I outline extensively with a word processor, I write only a few pages per day on a given story until I have a complete first draft. Only then do I fire up Word to then transcribe, edit, revise, and sometimes rewrite the whole damned thing.
Writing on paper gives me the freedom to really *write* and not edit as I go. I find this lets me write more freely and creatively, while slowing me down enough to make the connections between plot points essential to good story telling.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Among legal thriller writers: Scott Turow, Philip Margolin, Michael Connelly, Steve Martini, Harper Lee, John Grisham. Other writers include Neil Simon (for great dialog), Barbara Kingsolver (style and language), John Irving (storytelling), and Dave Barry (humor).
What are you working on now?
The Mountain Man’s Bride, the sequel to The Mountain Man’s Dog, in which the mountain man must clear first his own name, then his fiance’s, in a murder investigation.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Facebook has been amazing, but there’s no substitute for the direct connection. I send emails to my distribution list a few times per year, and people seem to respond very well to that. And of course, Amazon.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read great books and good writing constantly; write like crazy; edit sober; revise until you can’t stand reading it anymore; join a writer’s group, and be prepared to start all over again. Above all, keep writing.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Read, read, read. Read everything in your genre and the best of everything outside of your genre.
What are you reading now?
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.
What’s next for you as a writer?
After I complete The Mountain Man’s Bride and get all three upcoming books in the publishing pipeline, I plan to complete a new stage play – a comedy about cancer. Really. I lost my father to this awful disease and three sisters are survivors, but there was never a time we didn’t find the humor in it all.
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?
I’d take books I haven’t read yet – and which are very long. But who has time to plan ahead for being marooned on a desert island? Can’t I just bring my Kindle?