Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a Boston-based historical fiction author. I published my debut novel The Greenest Branch, a Novel of Germany's First Female Physician in June 2018. The second book in the series will be released in January 2019.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Greenest Branch (and book two The Column of Burning Spices) was inspired by the life of Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th-century physician who was one of the first women in Europe to practice medicine professionally. She had to overcome a great deal of mistrust and outright hostility, especially from the Church, in order to be able to do so. The novel traces her struggle to fulfill her dream against external obstacles and internal dilemmas.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I tend to write every day and not wait around for inspiration. In my experience, many writers think they need to be "in the mood", but I believe that persistence and discipline count for more than the muse. I write in short but intense spurts (2 hours per session is my sweet spot) rather than slowly over several hours.
I also like to drink a cup of tea at the start of a writing session, it's a bit of a ritual.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
In terms of historical fiction, I'm a big fan of the sweeping epics of Ken Follett, the research that Hilary Mantel puts into her novels, and the suspense created by C.J. Sansom and S.J. Parris in their historical mystery series.
In contemporary fiction, I enjoy reading Zadie Smith, Steven Galloway, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
What are you working on now?
I'm working on a historical thriller Silent Water, set at the royal court in Cracow, Poland, in the early 16th century.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I am active on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. On Facebook, I am a member of several history and historical fiction groups as well as a group called Authors and Writers Promotions. I also have a website where I blog and host guest posts regularly which helps to drive traffic. At the end of most of my posts, I include a "call to action" with the link to my book(s).
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Be persistent and disciplined, and don't get discouraged by rejections from agents. If you cannot secure an agent, be open to self-publishing on platforms like Amazon, which has allowed many quality books to see the light of day that otherwise would not have. But be prepared to invest in your book – hire a professional editor and cover designer. Readers are discerning, and it will help you maximize your income, and also build your brand. If you release a book with poor cover design and typos/errors, it will sink.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
"Write every day, don't wait for the muse"
What are you reading now?
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
What’s next for you as a writer?
I will query the historical thriller and start researching a sequel (I already have a few ideas!)
What is your favorite book of all time?
That's a tough one. It would have to be Our Ancestors trilogy by Italo Calvino, but The Late Mattia Pascal by Luigi Pirandello is not far behind.