Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I‘m a devoted wife and mother, writer, and amateur mapmaker. Born in Pensacola, Florida, I grew up in California, accompanied by seven siblings, and surrounded by horses, real cowboys, and the occasional rattlesnake. I’ve always been drawn to helping others, a trait that began, to my mother’s horror, with bringing home swallow chicks stricken from their nests. My professional background includes lay minister, journalist, and infant massage instructor with at-risk mothers and babies. I studied Creative Writing and Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Stanford University, and am a member of SCBWI, IBPA, NWA, and VFA. I live with my husband and son in a Carmel cottage old enough to make you sneeze. “The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman,” is my debut novel.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman” is Set at the turn of the nineteenth century, THE IMPROBABLE WONDERS OF MOOJIE LITTLEMAN is a heartrending, coming-of-age story, with a dose of humor and magical realism. After his adoptive mother dies in a freak accident, eight year-old, disabled, bi-racial Moojie is sent by his disapproving father to live at St. Isidore’s Fainting Goat Dairy, where he befriends a clan of outcasts from an alternate universe. Six years later, this forbidden friendship and subsequent events reveal an extraordinary boy’s tale of loss and connection, first love, and self-discovery.
My son inspired the book. Actually, I’ve had a pretty interesting life, beginning with being one of eight children in a pretty messed up family. This led to a lot of heartache, loneliness, and feelings of “not belonging.” I spent twenty years searching for spiritual answers, but the healing of these wounds really began when my husband and I adopted a baby with special needs. In spite of his difficulties, our son was the most kindhearted, courageous, and bright boy I have ever known. He has been teaching me so much. Especially, he is teaching me not to judge people by appearances, and to forgive others for hurting me. I wanted to put some of his life lessons together with mine to make a story that would inspire anybody who is dealing with difficulties and challenges.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Only that I write whenever I can. It isn’t a matter of discipline! I want to write and do nothing else. One of my craziest times was writing and editing for 26 hours straight to meet a deadline. What a silly business!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have read and re-read the works of Gabriel García Marquez, Franz Kafka, Rudyard Kipling, J.P. Donleavy, Salman Rushdie, and some of Virginia Woolf and Anaïs Nin.
What are you working on now?
I am working on the audio book through ACX.com. It will be released Spring of 2016.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m still trying to figure this one out. Facebook and Twitter didn’t seem to generate much in sales, like the giveaways, which at best, may have stimulated discussion and review of my book. I feel a bit lukewarm about the giveaway process after seeing the book sold on different sites right after I sent it out. And only maybe 1/4 of the Goodreads recipients wrote reviews. It seems to me that the best support for the book has come through my email list, through having a direct relationship with readers.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
The best thing I’ve learned is to take your time before getting published. Let your work rise like well water, then purify it. From time to time, leave it alone and pick it up later. Revise, revise, revise, skimming off the detritus until it reads like pure stream water.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.”–Mark Twain
What are you reading now?
Tove Jansson’s collection of short stories, THE SUMMER BOOK. It is lovely.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Finish the audio book in time to release it this Spring!
What is your favorite book of all time?
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, by Gabriel García Marquez.