Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I grew up without TV because my dad thought it would deprive my sister and me of our resourcefulness. Along with nature walks, gardening, and other fun activities, we had lots of time to get into trouble. But along the way we also became avid readers. While my sister became interested in art, I began to write stories and play musical instruments.
I submitted my first story to Seventeen Magazine when I was 13. Of course, it was rejected, and even though I took the rejection rather hard I didn’t give up. While I worked at my day job as an RN in ER and Critical Care, I worked at my writing, taking classes, writing and submitting until I finally became published in 1996.
I have 15 books and short stories presently in publication. The Wildings series, a family saga that takes place in the fictional town of Hazard, Wyoming, comprises 12 of my published works. Each story is a romance involving a Wilding family member. I also have a time travel titled, The Violin, and a contemporary with a paranormal twist. The Winatuke trilogy is presently out of publication and in revision to be released next spring.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
I Dream of You will be released September 4th 2018. This book is the last of the Wilding series and is about a Wilding cousin, Kyle Red Sky, whose father is a Lakota shaman. Even though he owns and operates an ordinary gas station and auto repair shop, Kyle possesses an extraordinary ability to see visions of the future. He is included in many of the other stories in the Wildings series sharing his visions and his wisdom with other members of the family.
I found my inspiration to develop this hero after I read a book about a well known Lakota shaman, Fools Crow, who had extraordinary gifts and wisdom. He was a man of integrity and great compassion for all living things. I wanted to write a character like that and have him fall in love with a fiercely independent woman who is in terrible danger.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
If you mean more unusual than any other crazy writer’s habits, probably not. I try to be as structured as possible because I have a tendency to procrastinate. I make my coffee, feed my pets, spend a few minutes with the dog outside, and then I write from 7:00 am to 10:00 am or longer if I’m on a roll. I don’t get on the internet until I’ve done my writing. I am addicted to Pinterest so save my Pinterest Meditation time for the end of the day.
I love to listen to music before I write, but not while I’m writing. Lately I’ve been listening to flamenco guitar music because I have Gypsy characters in the Winatuke trilogy which I am presently revising.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I like the way Jude Devereaux includes time travel or paranormal in some of her books. She does it in such a way that it is completely believable. Although Linda Lael Miller is known for her western romances (and I love them, too), she has also written a vampire trilogy and a detective trilogy. I appreciated her versatility because I write in several genres as well.
When I was a kid of maybe 9 or 10 I read Kidnapped by Robert Lewis Stevenson. Actually, I liked it so much I read it 7 times. His ability to create characters that just walk up to the reader and say, “Howdy,” was astonishing and his scenes were magical.
My parents encouraged my sister and me to read anything and everything including comic books. The only time I got into trouble was when I read some of my mother’s True Detective stories and had nightmares. No more True Detective magazines at our house. My mother signed me up for the Junior Classics Book Club. I looked forward to getting a new book every month. I also read my dad’s books like Sir Author Canon Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series, Lost World, and the White Company.
These days when I read a book I find myself analyzing the writer’s style and voice, their technique, and plot development as I read. I love it when I finish a book and sigh with satisfaction at the end. Even when I read a flawed book, I am taught lessons about what not to do.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m deep in revisions on the Winatuke trilogy. These 3 fantasy books were my first published work, so there is a major overhaul in progress here.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I used to get good results from my website. Later, I took part in website hops with give-away prizes which were quite successful. Blogs have been successful, but seem to be losing the momentum they once had. I have an author page at Amazon which includes a blog connected to my website blog. I don’t know how successful that is. So, my number one most successful media is Facebook followed by Twitter.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t give up. Persistence and improving your craft WILL pay off.
I’m certain they’re out there somewhere, but I have never personally met an author who was a New York Times best seller straight out of the gate.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I was having difficulty writing in deep point of view because I tended to state feelings like, sad, happy, or heartbroken instead of showing these feelings. An Australian writer and friend of mine said, “What does pain look like?” I understood then that I needed to use description like facial expression, body language, and dialogue to show a character’s feelings.
What are you reading now?
I just finished the Mail Order Brides: The Remmington Sisters by Livia Reasoner Washam, Jacquie Rogers, Cheryl Pierson, and the late, Celia Yeary published by Prairie Rose Publications.
Now I am reading a book for research: Life in Colonial America for Writers with multiple contributors from Writer’s Digest.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Once I finish the revisions on the Winatuke trilogy, I want to write some stories from my home state of North Carolina. There is so much history and diversity here from pirates to mountain men, and the Moravians who made a successful settlement in Salem, North Carolina. I haven’t decided on THE story yet, but I’m wide open to what comes next
What is your favorite book of all time?
Peace With God by Billy Graham, a big fat history book of the world, The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Canon Doyle, and a new journal to write in.