Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a community college English professor. I started as a poet, and my poetry has been published in many small literary journals. I have two poetry chapbooks: That’s the Way the Music Sounds, from Finishing Line Press (2009) and Talking to the Mirror from The Last Automat Press (2010). I also co-edited a collection of essays on women’s justice titled (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women’s Experience (2009). Because I love mystery novels, I decided to write one, and Shadow Notes was released by Barking Rain Press in May 2016, A full length collection of poetry, “Do You Expect Your Art to Answer You?” was released by Futurecycle Press in January 2017. I am also the current poet laureate of Norwalk, CT.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is titled "The Fallen" and it was inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. My protagonist's love interest is a black police officer who moved north after the hurricane because he uncovered some wrongdoing on the police force. I am interested in the issues of race, wealth, and betrayal among friends in my story!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Nope. I'm really boring. I eat chocolate, drink tea, and stare out the window.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Mark Doty's memoir "Heaven's Coast" influenced me because his language is so beautiful and the story–about his lover's death from AIDS–is so powerful. Two of my characters in the Clara Montague series are gay and I am interested in these voices that live outside the mainstream. All voices need to be heard, and I think that's part of a writer's job.
What are you working on now?
I'm trying to make it to the end of the semester!! I'm also working on a poetry collection about flying and the stars… and starting to think about the third Clara Montague story, which is about the smuggling of archaeological artifacts.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I have no idea. !! I really struggle with this, so I'm trying lots of different things to see what works.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Stick with it. So much of life is about committing to something.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
My father once said that anything worth doing in life was hard. I love that!
What are you reading now?
Tracy K. Smith's "The Body's Question" because I have to teach it next semester, John Le Carre's "Single & Single" because I love spy stories, and a whole lot of student papers.
What’s next for you as a writer?
The two projects I listed above, as well as a dance/poetry collaboration, an artist/poet collaboration around the theme of the sea–both as part of my role as poet laureate for my town.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Too hard!! "Ursula, Under" by Ingrid Hill ranks right up there, though, for her storytelling and language.