Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have been a storyteller all my life. I showed an aptitude for writing at an early age. My first attempts were in fiction at the tender age of 4. And then in the 4th Grade, my teacher (bless her heart) pulled me aside one day after school and told me I should really consider a career in writing.
I took those words to heart and they have sustained me when the going got rough.
In college, while earning a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, I discovered science writing and went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Journalism specializing in this area. I built a career in science and health marketing communications and public relations for more than 20 years, plying my craft to communicate complex topics to a lay audience.
Once I ventured out on my own, I started dabbling in book-length nonfiction. My first two books where cookbooks. I followed those with two books about online marketing. And, finally, my fifth book, now available for pre-sale wherever books are sold, is about public speaking.
But on the side, my fiction and poetry have always been where my heart is. My fiction work gravitates toward the fantastic. I like to write stories that involve space travel, supernatural beings or faerie creatures. Even those that don’t, often have a surreal or unusual bent. I wrote my first short fiction sometime before I turned a two-digit age. It was pretty bad, but you have to start somewhere.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My fifth and latest book is “Public Speaking Super Powers.” It all started with a blog post. It was very popular, so I thought that it could be easily expanded into a book. I wrote the book, in part, because the idea was there and it excited me. But I also wrote the book because I found that there are very few—if any—books out there that cover the whole set of skills required to be an effective speaker. Most focus on one small aspect, such as TED talks or persuasive speaking. “Public Speaking Super Powers” was created to be a strong foundational book that will give readers the basics they need to communicate before groups effectively.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I change my writing habits pretty much with every project. I’m always experimenting with new ways to do things. Sometimes I write longhand on a notepad and transfer to the computer later. Sometimes I start with the computer at the outset.
My nonfiction books have started with an idea, a blog post or a request. I’ve written them from scratch, pulled them together from blog posts and done extensive research. It keeps me on my toes–I’m rarely bored!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My top three favorite authors of all time are Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Ursula LeGuin. My fiction writing style is more like Bradbury.
My nonfiction started out being inspired by nonfiction works by Mark Twain and Isaac Asimov, as well as the well-known science writers Stephen Jay Gould and Lewis Thomas.
Books that have made an impact on my life include “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” by Richard Rhodes, “Clan of the Cave Bear” by Jean M. Auel, and “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. In fact, I wrote a blog post a few years back detailing my top 10 books, which, incidentally, got my husband to notice me and ask me out on our first date!
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m focused on marketing “Public Speaking Super Powers.” However, I do have a few other books in the queue, including second editions of two of my books, a couple of books about mindset, and an anthology of my essays, fiction, and poetry.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’ve found a lot of promotional partners through Facebook. And, of course, there is always my email list. I’m experimenting with some other ideas with this launch–so ask me again in a month and I’ll give you a better answer!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Have a vision and keep going after it. Don’t let the nay-sayers stop you. Find cheerleaders to support you on this tough journey. Develop a support team of fellow writers who can give you early critiques of your writing that is both solid and compassionate.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I heard Ray Bradbury speak once and he gave this advice in a nutshell: Writers write, but they also read. Read everything, both in and outside your genre. Live life. Collect experiences, for you will draw upon them in your writing. And, finally, “fire” the people in your life to rain on your dreams.
What are you reading now?
I have a very long queue of books I’ve promised to review, so that’s pretty much all I’m reading these days. The three books I’m currently working on are “Deep Nutrition” by Catherine Shanahan, “Badass Women Give the Best Advice” by Becca Anderson, and “The Vision” by C.L. Talmadge.
What’s next for you as a writer?
More books! I also am a fairly prolific blogger, with four or more blogs going at any one time. I’m also launching my speaking career–it seemed appropriate given that my latest book is about speaking.
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?
“The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury. I’ve read it three or four times and enjoy it every time.
One of those big short story anthologies. I have “The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction” in my collection. That would keep me busy for a while.
A collection of science writing essays. Perhaps “Bully for Brontosaurus” by Stephen Jay Gould.
And last, but not least, “The Dreams of Dragons: An Exploration and Celebration of the Mysteries of Nature” by Lyall Watson. It is a fascinating collection of essays on fringe science.