Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
According to Amazon, I’m a time traveler from beyond the Stellian Galaxy, but I pretend to be a life-long Michigander and SFF geek whose first crush (after my daddy) was Mr. Spock. This explains a lot. I began writing the stories that would lead to Oath Sworn and the Wolf’s Oath Trilogy when I was in high school–but I had already been writing for a number of years and wrote my first novel when I was 13. Thank God there was no Wattpad or KDP back then. It was a remarkable achievement, but it should never, ever see the light of day again. lol I earned my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and graduated with honors. I’ve trained dogs and horses, rescued cats, renovated old houses, gone spelunking, and fostered children. My husband thinks I’m cute even after almost 30 years of marriage, my kids think I’m weird (have they looked in the mirror lately?), and my cats just want me for my lap. I love woolly mammoths, Coca-Cola, men in kilts, and I have never been to the moon, but hope springs eternal.
My short fiction and poetry have appeared in Weird Tales, Masques of Darkover (and two other Darkover anthologies) The Temporal Logbook, The One Million Project, and other short story anthologies both in print and online. I was editor-in-chief of the semi-pro SFF magazine PANDORA back in the day and credit that experience with nurturing my love of short fiction in a way that school never did, honing my critical skills, and probably delaying my writing career by at least a decade. haha I have written a number of books, only one of which has been published so far.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My debut gaslamp fantasy novel, Oath Sworn, is part of a greater work that was originally entitled Wolf’s Oath–which now lends its name to the initial trilogy. The current story was inspired by the original which in turn was inspired partly by the first fantasy novel I wrote when I was 16. That one was inspired by a vivid dream. So I guess you could say it was all a dream… Time, life experiences, and developing more confidence as a writer further shaped the story into what it is now.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t know how unusual it is, but I do a lot of writing and revision at night. Midnight to 3 am is often the most productive period of the day for me.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Oh my, where to begin? I’ve been writing for so long that my influences have changed a great deal over time. Everything from Jules Vern and Shakespeare (I was that kid in your English class that loved the Bard) to Karl Edward Wagner, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, Lois McMaster Bujold, and C.S. Friedman. I was wild about Vern’s Journey to the Center of the Earth as a kid, grew into Heinlein’s juveniles. got lost in dark places following Kane, soared above Pern, sailed Earthsea, was charmed and inspired by Aslan, dashed after Miles Vorkosigan, and remain haunted by the Coldfire Trilogy. And that’s just the SFF.
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading Skyfarer and Dragon Road by Joseph Brassey. What a blast! My TBR (or read again) stack just keeps getting higher. It is hard to read as much as I would like when I’m trying to write…
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m revising the second book in the Wolf’s Oath trilogy and rapidly coming to the conclusion that it might be a quartet. That or I have to cut 40k words out of this book. I have several other manuscripts in various stages of completion, most of which are related to the world I introduced readers to in Oath Sworn. I also have a strong draft of a novella that would start off an unrelated SF series.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Seeing as I published Oath Sworn in December 2018 and this is February 2019, it is too soon to tell.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write what you love. Don’t be afraid of the first draft. Once you have something written down, you have something to revise–and revision is essential. Don’t be afraid of that, either. Not if you want to continue to learn and hone your skills. Rarely will a first draft be an only draft–even if you revise as you write and those “first drafts” are remarkably clean. Embrace the revision process. Relish it. Set the work aside and come back to it with a fresh perspective when necessary and then get out your red pen and be merciless. Respect the craft and yourself enough to take your time and put out the very best work you are capable of putting out. Seek solid critiques and don’t be afraid to take one on the chin from someone that you trust. If you suspect something in your story is problematic, it probably is. Don’t be afraid to change it. It is your story. Explore the possibilities. Look at it from another character’s POV. You can always change it back…but you probably won’t. Follow the story. Be you a planner or a pantser, don’t be so rigid that you shut the muse out. Allow for inspiration and organic growth. Write often. Write honestly. Don’t bow to resistance. Write what you love.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I could talk a lot about craft advice, about limiting POV, about avoiding too much exposition, about annoying dialogue tags, and any number of things. But I think I’m going to quote something that someone told me today: “Don’t kill what makes it special trying to make it appeal to everyone.”
What are you reading now?
Shivering World has been waiting for months, I want to do a Coldfire Trilogy reread, and I have quite a backlog of indie ebooks that looked good. I also have a book here about Beatrix Potter, a Shakespeare devotional, Heather Gladney’s Teot’s War (for a reread), and some Doctor Who novels because #DoctorWho.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Learning to better navigate the indie author scene and increase my productivity because I tend to write organically and I’m not fast. I want to get the initial Wolf’s Oath series out so I can concentrate on other books both related and unrelated. I’d really like to write some short stories. I enjoy them. I’m also hoping to start going to SF conventions again after a long hiatus.
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?
Would an entire book of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets count as one? Oh, good. Okay, I’ll take that one, a Bible, a novel that I’ve never read before so I’ll have something new at least once while I’m there, and of course some variation on How to Survive on a Desert Island. I hope I’m allowed to take a lot of notebooks and writing implements, too.