Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve just published my first book for *sale*, but the first book I wrote and published was a life-sized fairy tale telling how my husband and I met: we wore it as a Halloween costume. He was the front cover, and I was the back. I’m in the middle of my second project, so I guess I’ve written about 1 3/4 books so far. My husband and I live in the rainy northwest with our two children, a teen and an almost-tween, both of whom wish to be treated as fully grown adults. We treat them as a teen and an almost-tween, much to their frequent and vocal dismay.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Daze of Isolation: Diary of a Stuck at Home Mom was inspired by the recent pandemic, when I kept an online journal of the lighter side of Covid-19. Our school district was the first in the nation to shut the schools down, and I began writing with “Day 1 of Isolation,” but pretty soon those days turned into a daze, a 384-day-long daze!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not at all. I’m sure everyone uses Google speech-to-text while on their morning walks, edits on their tablet while taking a bubble bath, and proofreads on a sunny patio at the local McDonald’s. And when late-night inspiration strikes, doesn’t everyone hunch over their laptops in bed, typing oh-so-quietly because their loving husband is asleep on the other side of the bed?
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Good mysteries are my favorite for stress relief and escapism, but I treasure the vulnerability and humor of authors such as Kristina Kuzmič, Jen Hatmaker, and Melissa Fay Greene. It’s so easy to feel like everyone “else” is living a Pinterest-perfect, Instagram-worthy life every day, but we need to hear that others struggle just like we do. If we can laugh a little in the process, so much the better.
What are you working on now?
Like most people, I was in the middle of something when the pandemic exploded on the scene: my first book, which will now be my second book, called Domestic Tradecraft. Domestic Tradecraft is based on the observation that children can be tiny terrorists, and in order to survive, we need to develop elite, espionage-like skills, i.e. hone our tradecraft. In the same way that Daze of Isolation is a tongue-in-cheek history of the pandemic, Domestic Tradecraft is a flippant instruction book for parents. I like to think of it as the “un-manual” for parenting.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’ve found that promoting my book requires the same level of persistence and creativity that it took to write the book: maybe more! I have a few go-to resources I keep coming back to, such as thebookdesigner.com and kindlepreneur.com. Then, sites like this one (awesomegang.com) are so valuable to get the word out about new books.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Krista Overly, www.kristaoverlycoaching.com, cautions against “micro-quitting” – those little choices we make to do something else instead of taking the steps we need to take today to reach our dreams. For example, I might avoid doing some market research and justify it to myself by doing a little more re-writing on my book or touching up the formatting. Sometimes, I used my other responsibilities to micro-quit on writing. I had to say to myself, “Yes, I have to make dinner for my kids, but I do not have to make the bread from scratch, and the broth from scratch, and grow the vegetables in my garden…” As if I could grow enough vegetables to feed a human anyway. And sometimes, I can order pizza.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The advice that keeps coming back to me when you ask that is something my mom always said about parenting: don’t make the consequences for kids’ bad behavior so bad that it punishes the parents. For example, if you get really angry and ground your child for a month, you are going to suffer as much or more than the child! I can’t tell you how often that has saved me from torturing myself and my kids!
What are you reading now?
I’m catching up on the latest from some of my favorite series (Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, now written by Ace Atkins; the latest Jack Reacher by Lee Child) alternating with real-life memoirs, such as Kristina Kuzmič’s Hold On, but Don’t Hold Still and The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting, by Ilana Wiles.
What’s next for you as a writer?
The next thing on my to-do list is to find a rhythm in which I can make progress on my next book while still keeping the marketing momentum for my existing book. It’s a little bit like trying to adjust to parenting your second child: when you finally get one kid settled down, but you can’t take a breather, because the other kid is just ramping up.
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 have to dedicate a couple of choices to practicality, such as The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, which I’ve always been meaning to read. Then the Bible, because I’m sure I’ll need some comfort. After that, probably anything by Parker or Child. For my final choice, I’d bring my Kindle, fully loaded with the 234 books on my “to-read” list right now. Because surely the last person who was stranded on that island will have come up with a solar-powered USB charger.
I mentioned this question to my husband, calling it a “deserted” island, which sounded to him like I said “dessert” island. I think he’s on to something. I’m putting in my request now to be stranded on Dessert Island, with donuts growing on trees and meadows full of plants that bloom cupcakes and muffins. I’m guessing there will be natural springs flowing with salted-caramel mochas and waterfalls of Diet Coke. When it snows on Dessert Island, delicate flakes of Pringles float down from the sky, because after all that sugar, everyone knows you’d need a salt fix.