Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am an American writer from the heart of the West and I’d much rather be alone out in the desert than in a shopping mall. I enjoy exploring places off the beaten path and discovering little-known treasures. I’ve been learning and honing the writing craft for over forty years and have three published novels to my credit so far: two coming-of-age historical fantasies, “Hope Flies on Broken Wings” and its sequel, “Hope Rises from the Ashes.” I also have a dark, adult, psychological horror/thriller called “Exit Strategy” as well.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“Hope Rises from the Ashes” is my most recent novel. So many readers of “Hope Flies on Broken Wings” asked me “what happens next?” so…I had to give them an answer. I believe the story holds a nice surprise for the readers of my first book, but even though it is a sequel, “Hope Rises from the Ashes” can well stand on its own.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t know if it’s unusual or not, but my first rough draft of anything must be hand-written–pen to paper. My first and usually second and third rewrites and editing is done on that hand-written draft as well. Only then can I begin to transcribe the manuscript into the computer for further modifications. I find it extremely difficult to “create” on the computer. The trouble is, my hand writing is atrocious and sometimes I cannot decipher it!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I cannot say that any particular books or authors have had undue influence over me. I enjoy a wide variety of books and authors, and do believe I take a little something away with me from each and every one of them. I try not to mimic anyone’s personal style, but I do find myself studying certain interesting aspects of most of the stories I read–an occupational hazard, I must admit, for it often distracts me from merely enjoying the story. I always seem to have to dissect it.
What are you working on now?
For years I have been tweaking and honing an epic, three-volume fantasy saga which is finally coming close to meeting my satisfaction. Also, I hope to release a collection of my short horror stories in the spring of 2014.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I have yet to hit upon any one method or place that works extraordinary promotional magic, so for me, good old-fashioned word of mouth recommendations by my satisfied readers still works the best.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
The best advice I can give to new writers is this: Don’t get discouraged; don’t rush; don’t underestimate the value of good editing; never stop learning your craft; and never be afraid to push the boundaries. It’s okay to think outside the box. Writing is a thankless, lonely pursuit, and it takes perseverance, passion, and patience. A good support system can help, even it’s just another family member.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I’ve ever received was something I learned from my father many years ago–if there is no road from here to there then make your own. In other words, don’t ever let anything stand in the way of your dreams; there are no obstacles that cannot be overcome.
What are you reading now?
At this very moment, I am currently reading a zombie horror novel titled, “The Hand that Feeds,” by Michael Garza, and also working my way through a non-fiction look into the world of autism in “The Reason I Jump,” by Naoki Higashida.
What’s next for you as a writer?
What’s next is to become a New York Times bestselling author! No, really, a girl can dream can’t she? Actually, I hope to begin writing soon upon a nonfiction work about the most interesting woman I’ve ever known–my mother. Her childhood spent in an isolated mining camp during the Great Depression, I believe, would make a fascinating tale. There is also still another book that might follow in my “Hope” series. An idea is smoldering in the back of my brain, should the demand arise.
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 first book I would have on hand is my copy of “Outdoor Survival Skills,” by Larry Dean Olsen. For entertainment purposes, I’d bring Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove,” and a single-volume edition of Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” And for inspiration, I would include “The Worst Journey in the World,” by Apsley Cherry-Garrard to remind me my situation could be much worse.