Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve only written one novel, and I am currently rewriting another one. I began my writing career as a playwright, and I’ve written a whole bunch of plays. Many of of my ten-minute and one-act plays have been produced, both in the United States and internationally. Recently, my short play CLOWN THERAPY was translated into Spanish and produced in Peru. This summer, my short play BITE ME (in which a woman brings home a vampire) was produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My debut novel, a young adult mystery, is called SWIMMING ALONE. It was inspired, in part, by the summers I spent in Rhode Island as a child. It was also inspired by all of the mystery and crime fiction that I have read over the years, and by the students I used to teach. The high school students I taught craved books with a great deal of suspense. I wanted to write a book that they would enjoy. And like many people, I am intrigued by serial killers. So I had to write a novel that had a serial killer.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I guess I tend to juggle a lot of projects at one time until one really “sticks.” As a result, I have a pile of unfinished stories, plays, novels, etc. I also always read my work aloud to myself, somewhat dramatically, as I am working on revisions. I don’t know if that is unusual or not, but I do find it helps me to hear my writing aloud.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
When I was in 7th grade, my reading teacher assigned I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER by Lois Duncan. I was hooked. This book made me want to become a mystery writer.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am revising a short mystery story for adults, and my second young adult novel, a paranormal thriller/romance currently titled IN DEEP. The short story has a theatrical setting. I was a theater major in college and a struggling actress for a number of years in New York, so I enjoy writing about this world. The novel, like SWIMMING ALONE, has a seaside setting.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m am relatively new to this world, so I am not really sure. I use both Facebook and Twitter, but sometimes I think my tweets are just entering a void. I had a lot of luck on Facebook with my online book launch at the end of August. I also maintain a blog called NOT EVEN JOKING. I don’t know how good it is at promoting my book, but I enjoy interviewing other writers and creative people on it.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Be patient and plan to revise your work a lot. I completely rewrote SWIMMING ALONE, oh, probably about five times before it reached a stage ready for publication. (And that is not including all of the minor edits and revisions.) I mean, major, major rewrites. The first drafts of the novel were written in the third person, contained a series of flashbacks, and even a major character who was eventually cut from the story.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Sometimes you have to “kill your darlings.” In other words, never get too attached to a piece of writing. With my WIP, I recently axed the first 50 pages. There was a lot of writing in those pages that I absolutely loved, but it was not helping the story move forward.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading CITY OF SILVER by Annamaria Alfieri. I picked up a copy earlier this month when I was a panelist at the Deadly Ink Conference in New Jersey. It is a mystery that takes place in 17th century Peru. I traveled to Peru two summers ago, so I was really interested in reading this book, and so far I love it!
What’s next for you as a writer?
As I mentioned above, I am currently revising both a short story and a novel. I have had another young adult novel brewing inside me for a while, so I think I will get started on that as soon as I can. I don’t want to say what that one is about just yet, because I am a little but superstitious. I am afraid if I say too much about the book, I won’t write it.
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 would definitely take THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES. I’ve read about 1/2 of all the stories, and I would really love to read all of them. Plus, I could read those stories over and over again. I would also take THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. I’ve read many of Shakespeare’s plays, but I think if I were stranded on a desert island, I world spend time acting them out to entertain myself. That would certainly keep me busy for a while! I would also probably bring some kind of survival guide. I imagine that would be pretty useful. Oh, and THE COMPLETE WORKS OF O’HENRY. I love his short stories. I guess I am cheating a little by bringing so many big books!