Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I live in deepest darkest Missouri with a bunch of cats. I'm not quite the old lady who lives in the woods with the cats, but I'm working on it. I was a teacher for a number of years which gave me an intense appreciation for quiet personal space. I've written three fiction books and one nonfiction. My kids are grown and gone, though they come back from time to time for food. My daughter is going to present me with my first grandchild in the Autumn–near my birthday, if the prediction is correct.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen will be released August 1. It's the second book in a fantasy/Gothic trilogy about how a small town fortune teller wreaks havoc in a haunted Scottish castle. The first book, Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones, came about because I wanted to write a kind of response to the traditional Gothic romances I grew up reading. While I love those books, I always thought the women were a little too milksoppy. So I wrote about one who wasn't. She's inexperienced, but she has moxy. The old school Scottish witches don't know what to do with her.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I use tarot cards to develop plot and character. I don't know if it's unusual or not, but it works for me. I do a little tarot card reading–I am a rank amateur–and I find that drawing a card gives me a nudge and keeps me from being stale. They always tell me something surprising and often take the story in a totally unexpected direction.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I'm a sucker for British literature–that was my major in college. I've been reading P.G. Wodehouse and Douglas Adams for years and go back to them when I need a laugh. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings is one of my all time favorites. On the American side, Edgar Allen Poe's short stories are so compelling–I try to develop rich atmospheres like he did but fall short. Donald Westlake is another American whose screwball stories and complex plots influence my stories. I never knew what to expect from his tales–some are hilarious and some are dark, but they are always twisted.
What are you working on now?
I'm putting the finishing touches on the Zoraida Grey trilogy and on an anthology of Zoraida Grey short stories titled Witchling. Then I have that Christmas story to finish and the murder mystery to get underway. What I really need is about two weeks of thinking time to get these sorted in my head.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Marketing and promoting are mysteries to me. I use my own blog and website and my publisher is helpful. I'm fond of The Romance Reviews and Coffeetime Romance, as well as Long and Short Reviews, but I'm sure there are more effective places to promote from. That's why I'm here 🙂
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Get busy and write. Don't let anybody tell you writing is a waste of time. Don't let anyone discourage you. If you love it–then do it. I spent a bunch of years doing something I got talked into instead of doing what I wanted to do from the start. Now, I've finally found my way back, but–wow–do I feel like I'm miles behind. Sorchia listened to other people. Sorchia had a lot of unfulfilling jobs. Don't be like Sorchia.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Tell the reader just what they need to know right now. It's tempting to spend the first seven chapters of a book–especially a fantasy book–building the world. But –ick–nobody wants to read that. So jump into the action, tell the reader just what they need to know to understand the scene, let the characters live in the world, and the world will build itself. Much more fun to read and this method gives readers credit for being able to figure stuff out.
What are you reading now?
I just finished a rousing British comedy by a kid named Nick Spalding. I laughed so hard I lost control of some essential bodily functions. Love from Both Sides is the last one of his books I've read. It's good, but the one that made me laugh the hardest so far is titled Bricking It.
What’s next for you as a writer?
For 2018, I'll be finishing and marketing the Zoraida Grey Trilogy, but I have a Christmas medieval fantasy romance titled Winter Solstice is in the works. By next year, I want to be working on a murder mystery series. The first book is in a very rough outline–mostly in my head–but I think I can pull it together for a spring release. The working title is Festival of Blood and it's about a string of murders during a small town Celtic festival. I want to do a little genre hopping from fantasy and paranormal to thriller, horror, suspense. My fantasy roots will undoubtedly show up as will my obsession with all things Scottish, but the tone will be a little different.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Lord of the Rings is probably at the top of a long list of books I re-read. Ivanhoe is another and all the Agatha Christie mysteries are up there, too.