Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve been writing novels since my dad died – a devastating life event that pushed me into this need to “control lives” in my parallel universe, even if they aren’t real! I’ve written 3 mystery series, two love stories, two thrillers, and some writing guides. Twenty-four books total, which definitely keep me out of trouble! ;o)
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Devil’s Lake was inspired by the brave girls who were kidnapped in Cincinnati for all those years. I don’t know how they survived, but they did. And I couldn’t get their stories out of my head for a long time. Thus, I wrote my own story about two very brave women, and dedicated it to these ladies held hostage by Ariel Castro.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m usually writing in the dark by the wood stove with at least two dogs hunkered close to me and a few cats as well. When my one-year-old grandson wakes up, that’s my signal to stop and pay attention to him!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
John D. McDonald, Michael Prescott, James Patterson, Dick Francis, Clive Cussler, Laurie King, Lillian Jackson Braun, Rex Stout, Peter Mayle, Tony Hillerman, Dean Koontz, SW Vaughn… to name a few!
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the sequel to Devil’s Lake, called Devil’s Creek. In this book, we get to find out why Anderson’s eyes look so “haunted,” and we learn about Grace’s story of drugs and debauchery – and how it affected her in this current lifetime.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Do you have any advice for new authors?
1) Keep writing, independent of which agent or publisher you have in your sights or in hand. Write as many books as you possibly can, and grow your skills as you grow your stable of books.
2) Improve your current proficiency–continually–by befriending a few good critique partners and by reading as much as you possibly can. Great writers will be your best teachers.
3) Don’t quit the day job unless you have the luxury of doing so financially. Plan to work indefinitely until you’ve sold over 100,000 copies of your first book. Really. I’m serious. (which means most of us will keep the day jobs forever) Then, wait to see if your second book flops or follows the trend of the first. There are plenty of one hit wonders out there! After two “A” movies have been made (I’m picturing about a half a million for each), then you can consider quitting the day job. That is, if you’re good with money and feel as if you can keep churning out books or a very long time. Remember, if you’re–say fifty years old–you might need to support yourself (and maybe your spouse) for another fifty years. You’d need several million to keep yourself going at a reasonable income level for that long. So don’t quit the day job yet!
4) While you’re waiting for this elusive financial success, and you’re writing book after book, submit your manuscript and queries to all levels of publishers, but only to the top agents in NYC. (my humble opinion) Consider a small high quality press to get started, especially if the big publishers haven’t snapped you up in the first year, or five.
5) Don’t define your success as a writer by how many books you sell or how fast your novel(s) get picked up. Or even IF they get picked up. Define your success by the readers you win over, whose lives you may even change as a result of your writing. Cherish their comments, and realize that if you can make one person smile, or brighten their day, or give them an armchair adventure that whisks them away from their troubles – then THAT may be worth it, and all you need to be validated.
6) Although it takes time away from your writing, build a strong, genuine network of writers with whom you can share, grow, learn, gripe, vent, and just share the common angst and jubilation that comes with this long process. Do the same with your readers who fall in love with your book(s) and are willing to help you along the way.
7) Start on the next book before the first is accepted anywhere. Don’t look back. Keep going and follow your heart.
8) You must believe it “will” happen. It’s just a matter of time. Although my books provide a nice subsidy at this point in my career, I firmly believe that some day my books will sell enough copies through my high quality small press (Twilight Times Books) to catch the attention of a movie maker or giant publisher with deep pockets. And now, with my new love story just released, I’m picturing the film for The Seacrest in full living color. ;o) And I know, I believe, I see in the future–eventually–that both of my series will some day be commonly found across the globe. Maybe it’ll be when I’m dead and gone, and perhaps my grandkids or great grandkids will benefit. That would be just fine with me!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Write Like You Talk,” “Cut, cut, cut!” and “Avoid those annoying adverbs!”
What are you reading now?
Morgan Blaze’s “Dawson’s Stand”
What’s next for you as a writer?
A sequel to my love story, The Seacrest, called The Seacroft. In this story, we learn about young Cody – fast forwarded about six years, that is. He’s now 21 and working for a sexy and mysterious lady who owns The Seacroft mansion on Cape Cod.
What is your favorite book of all time?
To Kill A Mockingbird