Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I started writing poetry as a child, but I always dreamed of writing novels. As an adult I decided it was now or never, so I began the long, exciting and scary world of writing. My first book was a fantasy novel for children. I used to read it to my fourth-graders. Now, as young adults, they come up to me and say, "Remember when you used to read your book to us?" Since then I have written a collection of poetry, an inspirational as-told-to memoir, a chldren's picture book in honor of my mother's legacy of sewing for her family, a cozy mystery set in my home town of Thunder Bay, and most recently, a literary novel. My next project will be a sequel to The Serenity Stone Murder.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Serenity Stone Murder began at my sister's prodding. She loves British mysteries, and thought I should write a mystery set here in Thunder Bay, at the top of Lake Superior. She described her time at a women's weekend retreat, and suddenly the characters of Margaret and Louise appeared to me. I could feel these two characters and their personalities vividly, so I became excited about describing their time at a retreat, where the body of a murdered casino manager shows up in the adjacent parking lot. After that, the hunt was on!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I always get tense when I'm writing, so I have to keep jumping up and doing housework between paragraphs to work off tension. I also like to talk to myself when writing, so I prefer if my husband is not at home.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Too many to name. As a child I loved animal stories–Black Beauty, The Call of the Wild, White Fang, Lad, a Dog. Also Nancy Drew. As a teenager I discovered C.S.Lewis, Doestoevsky, the Russian classics, great playwrights. I love the writings of Philip Yancey and William Kent Kreuger. C.S.Lewis has been the greatest influence on me and my thinking.
What are you working on now?
I am working on the finishing touches to a literary novel called The Book of Common Prayer, about a reluctant minister's wife in northwestern Ontario. It's the most ambitious thing I have written, but I love it. After that, I plan to write a sequel to The Serenity Stone Murder.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I don't spend as much time on promotion as I used to. I prefer to use my time and energy for writing. I do free kindle promotions several times a year helps, and announce things on my facebook author page.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Perhaps the most helpful thing I read as a beginning writers was that success in writing belongs to the undiscourageable. That has stood me in good stead over the years, because it can be a hard road. The other piece of advice I read was that beginning writers are too easily satisfied with their efforts, and resistant to constructive criticism. That was certainly true of me! It hurts to have our masterpieces criticized. But as we grow, we learn not to take it personally, but to use it to improve. And, of course, read a lot. Reading the classics, the best writers, has taught me what good writing looks like. Great writing is the best teacher any writer could hope for.
What are you reading now?
Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I need to reconnect with my poetic voice. But for fun, I want to work on my next Margaret and Louise book.
What is your favorite book of all time?
That would be a tie between the Chronicle of Narnia by C.S.Lewis and The Idiot by Doestoevsky.
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