Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born and raised in San Diego, California and earned a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. I began my career as a reference and collection development librarian in the Art and Music Section of the San Diego Public Library and then transferred to the Literature and Languages Section, where I had the pleasure of managing the Central Library’s Fiction collection and initiating fiction order lists for the entire library system. Although I also enjoy reading biography, memoir, and history, fiction remains my first love. In addition to the three R’s—reading, writing, and research—I enjoy Scrabble, movies, and travel.
My earliest ambition was to be a “book maker” and I wrote my first story, “Judy and the Fairies,” with a plot stolen from a comic book, at the age of six. I broke into print in college with a story in the San Diego State University literary journal, The Phoenix, but most of my magazine publications came after I left the library to spend more time on my writing
My stories have been published in Eclectica, The Binnacle, The Nassau Review, Orbis, Thema Literary Journal, Verandah Literary & Art Journal, Short Story America, San Diego Writers’ Monthly, The Storyteller Anthology, I-70 Review, and the anthologies Short Story America, Vol. 2 and The Captive and the Dead. Four stories, including three as yet unpublished, received honorable mention in the Short Story America Prize for Short Fiction contests. A romance novel, Seventeen Days, was published by Wild Rose Press.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Seventeen Days. The hero came first, inspired by video of Cruz on the soap opera Santa Barbara looking very sexy in a tool belt. The fishing village setting was inspired by my admiration for Elisabeth Ogilvie’s Bennett’s Island series, and the heroine’s anti-war sentiments by World War I combat scenes in the film Legends of the Fall
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Is it unusual to cross out what I’ve scribbled down in my notebook when I’ve used it in the story? It helps make it clear what I haven’t used yet. I consider a lizard my muse and Huxley, a writer mouse from Starbucks, my sometime collaborator
What authors, or books have influenced you?
A major influence early on was the Williamsburg series by Elswyth Thane. It’s now very dated and politically incorrect, but I still see echoes of it in my writing. Ditto Robert A. Heinlein’s “books for boys.” Even though I almost never write science fiction, I quoted him in “Vacation Hold,” (Thema, August 2017: Missing Letters,) and named a character after one of his. Also see Elisabeth Ogilvie above, and I’ve written several captivity stories, including “Rumpelstiltskin,” (Eclectica.org/April/May 2018), undoubtedly influenced by memoirists Jaycee Dugard, Elizabeth Smart, Katie Beers, Amanda Berry, et al. Another early influence was my older sister's character-driven stories, and the references in Seventeen Days to John Wyatt Mitchell and the Dictionary Murders are an inside joke–Mitchell is her fictional author and the Dictionary Murders a title I suggested for him.
What are you working on now?
Promoting Seventeen Days. I’ve recently finished a short mystery and begun a story about two couples thrown together in a mountain cabin.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m new at promotion, so this remains to be seen.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read! Read anything and everything. The more different styles you read, the more easily you will develop your own. Read good writing, but even bad writing can teach you something. Write what you want to write. Don’t worry about writing in chronological or logical order; it can all be sorted out later. Write for yourself and polish for editors. Don’t give up. Sometimes a story will find a home when you least expect it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Richard P. Brickner wrote in his memoir, My Second Twenty Years, that a novel is as big as an ocean to the writer, but a mere drink of water to a reader. This reminds me not to take it personally when other people don't place much value on my drink of water. They might not even be thirsty.
What are you reading now?
A Higher Call by Adam Makos
What’s next for you as a writer?
Preparing another romance for the Wild Rose Press.
What is your favorite book of all time?
This is an impossible question. Most often read: Ever After by Elswyth Thane.