Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve written nine books, sort of. Two of them remain unfinished, a third needs work before it can be published. The first book I ever completed, a historical novel, will most likely never be published, for a lot of personal reasons. Then there was my autobiography (Dino Godzilla and the Pigs) published back in 1993 by SoHo Press. Robin Unaware is #4 in the Birds in Peril Series. So of the eight publishable books, half have ‘arrived’ and half are waiting. #5 Birds is a bunch of notes and will most likely end the series…then I’ll finish the two not yet done. I intend to write my mother’s story at some point in the future. It is emotional and, quite frankly, I don’t believe I’ve moved far enough away from those emotions to be able to write her story objectively. I guess that’s a ‘someday’ wish.
I’m not sure if ‘the urge to write’ it is engrained or inherited. My mother was a published poet; so, perhaps, that is where some of the ‘writing bug’ comes from. I have always been able to express myself better on paper than by speaking. Writing, for me, is as natural as breathing. There is also the fact that I live in a world that seems to be slipping away far too fast. I am a country girl who grew up in the heart of ‘farm country’ next to a thriving dairy farm. When I was a child ‘family farms’ were the norm. Most of the people I knew lived or worked on farms. My first years of education were in a little three room public school in the heart of ‘our community’. ‘Our community’ being several small little burgs nestled in the hills among numerous farms where cattle, hogs and chickens were raised along with a variety of crops (corn, wheat, soybeans, milo). It was a solid, productive way of life. Everyone knew everyone else, and their problems. It was a simple life. We didn’t have in-house plumbing of any kind or a telephone until I was ten years old when Dad built ‘our new house’. I spent many of my summers riding my bike up and down the county roads. I rarely met another car. If I did, I usually knew who drove it. As I’ve grown older I’ve watched the number of farms dwindle. The trust people once held in one another has diminished as well. During the years I’ve worked as a farmer with my husband, we have watched the farm industry evolve into something that, more often than not, we don’t recognize and don’t necessarily like. The days of that simple farm life are becoming a memory. I want to preserve as much as I can of pleasant family farm life with my written word, through my own experience, dreams or aspirations.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Robin Unaware is #4 in the Birds and Peril Series I started on a whim about a decade ago. The first in the series, Pigeon in a Snare, was just a story. Somewhere along the line I wrote Birds #2, Roses for the Sparrow, but knew that if I didn’t sell Pigeon, Sparrow would just sort of dangle with a lot of unanswered questions. So then, determined to publish both some way, some how, I wrote Bird #3 Plight of the Wren. By this time I knew I was telling a long.g.g.g. story that would take several additions to complete. That finally gave the series a direction. It was not until after I wrote the first three and was stewing on the fourth, that I obtained the interest of AKW e-books. AKW published Pigeon and Sparrow. But their owner/operator/publisher retired in Jan. 2015 so I was left to publish #3 Wren on my own. That went well enough to encourage me to continue the series. In a nutshell the Birds in Peril Series is about five women who met, fell in love with and married men who aided the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of one Sheldon Humsler. Even though the events that disrupt their lives, do not necessarily involve Humsler, they certainly invoke the conviction that, one day, Humsler will find a way to enact his revenge. All of these women and the men they marry are in some way closely connected to Humsler’s arch enemies, Benton Cromwell, T.J. Harvester and Thad Hunt. Because of Humsler, Benton Cromwell’s life and livelihood have become so precarious he now lives as an invalid on borrowed time. However, his friends, T.J. Harvester and Thad Hunt continue to grow in family and in deed. Both are well loved by many. The time grows near when a final confrontation with Humsler must occur. Pigeon is Lisa’s story. Sparrow is Jani’s story. Wren is Susie’s story. Robin is Stephanie’s story. #5, tentatively named Challenge the Eagle, will be Sylvia’s story.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m a night owl and I still do a lot of the first draft in long hand. I’ve always been a night owl…it’s kind of like being left-handed. I was born that way and no power on this earth will change it. I like the solitude when I’m alone with my thoughts…or a good book.
As for the long hand thing…Writing is so spontaneous to me that I never know when some fantastic idea will strike. AND, if I don’t get it on paper asap, that idea will be gone faster than anyone can say ‘boo!’. So, out of habit, I carry a pencil and paper with me, just in case…
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I grew up reading historical and romance books. My mother was an avid reader of such books and as I got older we often shared them. I can’t say that any authors have really influenced me. There are books I love and books I hate with a vengeance–for their own reasons. I remember being assigned to read ‘1984’ when I was in high school. We were to write a page about the book and a page telling how we liked/didn’t like it. I wrote something like two very short paragraphs about the book and three pages about why I hated it. On the other hand, the first time I read Gone with the Wind I was 14. I’ve read it several times since, as I have also read Exodus and a number of Leon Uris’s books. For romance I tend to prefer Sandra Brown or Nora Roberts but I will try to read just about anything at least once. I also like science Fiction. John Bowers is a current favorite science fiction author.
What are you working on now?
In between projects right now. I just published Robin and am taking a bit of a breather before I move on to #5 in the Birds in Peril Series
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Amazon for sales. But I like the promotional websites like Awesome Gang, BookGoodies, My Book Place
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Just do it. No one else is going to take those words/ideas out of your head and put them on paper. You have to do that yourself and you have to practice your skill until you can write well enough to attract people’s attention with just your name
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Finish it. From romance writer Bobbi Smith.
She told me once, “Just finish that manuscript. When it’s done you can decide what you want to do with it but there won’t be any deciding anything until you finish it.”
What are you reading now?
My kids gave me a copy of Dana Perino’s “And the Good New Is’ for Christmas. I began reading it a few hours ago.
What’s next for you as a writer?
blue ribbons, gold bells and stardom? I wish
What is your favorite book of all time?
Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss