I had the exciting opportunity to be interviewed by Tammy Lough – Word Nerds Unite. Welcome to my world!
What inspired you to write your first book?
While taking a few
creative writing classes, I wrote what I knew, short stories based on life
experiences. After taking a memoir class, I thought about the stories I’d
written. Most were reflective of how I deal with challenges, looking for the lesson
learned, adding a dash of humor and finding a positive outcome.
I realized that I’d
avoided writing anything that drew upon my deeper emotions. So I spent months
spilling my guts on paper and drying my tears. The therapeutic process brought
me peace and healing of wounds long buried beneath the surface.
My first book (and only
one published to date), Peaks and Valley, became a reality with the help of my
dear friends and authors, Amanda Bretz and the late, Jerome L. Pionk.
How did you come up with the title?
Life is a series of
rollercoaster rides. While trying to decide on an appropriate cover, I found a
picture I’d taken that represented the beauty of nature, uncontrolled and unsymmetrical,
much like my life. Peaks and Valleys represented the memories that made me
laugh and those that brought me tears.
If you had to choose, which writer would you
consider a mentor?
There have been many
writers who have influenced my writing. To pick just one is difficult, I could
name a dozen. In reality, Jeanne Felfe, a devoted writing and critique partner,
has taught me the most. Her ability to show me how to add depth to my
characters and stories with examples, references and explanations puts her at
the top of my long list.
Name one entity that you feel supported you
outside of family members.
Saturday Writers, a
chapter of Missouri Writers Guild, has been the foundation of my support since
I joined some years ago. The Round Table Writers Novel Critique Group, formed
within that organization, provides me with a daily support team.
Can you share a little of your current work
Currently, I have three
novels in progress. Burning Embers is a romantic suspense for which I am
seeking a agent/publisher. Brittany Harbor never anticipated her childhood
retreat, a primitive Colorado cabin, could become a death trap. Orphaned by
death and deception, she flees New York paparazzi in an attempt to heal her
Misjudged is another
contemporary romantic suspense that continues in Colorado with many of the same
characters as Burning Embers. Detective Bernard Kratz thought no one could
penetrate the wall he built around his heart, yet. Brittany Harbor did. With a
crack in the foundation, he faces his painful past and ventures into
The Gold Miner Ring is a
woman’s fiction about the journey of three elderly sisters and the negative effects
of keeping secrets.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I believe every writer
needs to be actively involved with a critique group. The benefits of having
more than one perspective is essential. As a writer who want to be her best, I must
be open to change and occasional harsh feedback. I learn from everyone who
writes, accepting what fits and leaving what doesn’t. Most importantly, I try
to be honest with the process, even when it hurts.
What is the first book that made you cry?
sure I’ve cried over many books, but the one that sticks in my mind is The
Bridges of Madison County by Robert J. Waller. It makes me cry every time I
read it, which I’ve done year after year. The raw passion tugs at my heart. If
you’ve only seen the movie, you’ve done Mr. Waller and yourself a disservice.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they
don’t feel emotion strongly?
are millions of books written and published. I’m sure many are void of
emotions. However, for books that draw my attention, emotions are essential. I
want to experience laughing, crying, fear and anger. It helps me relate to the
If you could tell your younger writing-self
anything, what would it be?
Write anything, every day, and keep it. I’ve found pieces of stories that I
started and didn’t finish until years later. I wish I had kept everything I’ve
written. Much of it wasn’t my best, but seeing how I could improve it with what
I’ve learned would be fun. If it’s important, back it up on the cloud.
Get some books that show you how to be better. Writing with Stardust by Laim
O’Flynn is great for beginners. The Thesaurus books by Angela Ackerman are
amazing. When I need a new way of expressing an emotion, I pull out her book
and find exactly what I need. Put it on your Birthday or Christmas wish list or
treat yourself to them now.
more of what you enjoy and make yourself read something you’d usually avoid.
Pay attention to what keeps you interested and what makes you want to close the
book and toss it in a pile.
everything I write will be my best, but it could be with a little more work.
I’ve learned to enjoy the journey and celebrate my small successes.