1. What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
Chocolate chip pancakes. Eeeky Squeaky: The Fourth Blind Mouse is my first published piece. I wrote it for two of my nephews who went into uncontrollable fits of giggles the first time I read the story to them. This was partially due to them finding the story funny but also due to the fact that they had just eaten chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. So chocolate chip pancakes always remind me of the little people I write for and that I do it to make them laugh!
2. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
The computer works best for me. It’s keyboard is the closest to my overall preference, my cell phone. I’m severely nearsighted and writing with my phone inches from my face eliminates the glare because I don’t have to wear my glasses as I would with my computer.
3. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
Three years after graduating from pharmacy school. I spent three years looking for a job that I knew I didn’t really want. I finally admitted to myself in 2011 that I wanted to write full time and gave up the false job search.
4. Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
I write when I feel inspired. Anything can do that. The words Expiration Date in an American Cancer Society commercial caused me to write the first story I completed as an adult.
5. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I plan an overall plot but then go where the idea takes me. I rarely end up arriving at the originally intended destination. I like writing that way. It’s freeing!
6. What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
Getting what is in my head down on paper in a way that other people will understand it and want to read my work. Sometimes I write stories that make perfect sense to me but others may not read them the way I intended.
7. What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?
The easiest part is the spell check I run at the end. I don’t think I would love writing as much as I do if too much about it was easy.
8. Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? How long do they usually last?
I’m currently going through one right now. I haven’t worked on anything since February.
9. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Yes, I love to read. Right now I’m on a J.K. Rowling kick. Anything Harry Potter is good. I’ve also been a John Grisham fan since 1995 when I read The Client in the 8th grade. In addition, I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. I hope to read more from her.
10. Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
I do my own editing but also fix errors that family and friends point out that I may have missed.
11. What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?
A good cover and title is very important. You have to catch the reader’s eye before they stop and pay attention to the words on the inside of your book.
12. How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?
I’ve already experienced that but because I invited my parents, siblings, and their children, it was still fun. Almost like a family reunion at the library.
13. Any advice you would like to give to your younger self?
Yes. When you go to college, choose the major that’s in your heart and not one just because it has greater future earning potential.
14. What did you want to become when you were a kid?
A better question would be what didn’t you want to become. As a teenager, I finally settled on pharmacist because high school graduation was quickly approaching and I needed to choose a college. Also, my grandfather and great grandfather were pharmacists.
15. Have any new writers grasped your interest recently?
I was made aware of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie by a friend recently. Her book Americana mentions a lot of the towns and cities I visited as a student at Rutgers via the New Jersey transit train line. It almost feels like going home whenever I read it.
16. It is often believed that almost all writers have had their hearts broken at some point in time, does that remain true for you as well?
Yes and no. I’ve had my heart broken but not by another person. In a nutshell, I broke my own heart. Writing helped me get through the anger and the anguish that a truly life changing turn of events caused.
17. When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?
No. I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to be once it was time to choose. I liked writing, but I also liked drawing, and the ideas of teaching or practicing medicine.
18. They say books die every time they are turned into a movie; what do you think?
No. To date I’ve only found one case where I thought a film adaptation was better than the book. A lot of details are lost when a book is turned into a movie so any given book is usually better than its movie.
19. Whose work do you enjoy reading the most?
At this moment, J.K. Rowling. Right now I’m in awe of her imagination.
20. What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?
I would be open to it. The trick is to write with someone whose style complements my own. It would work if each of us brings something the other can’t.
21. Now when you look back at your past, do you feel accomplished?
I do but there’s still a lot more I want to do as a writer. To me writing means that even when I leave this world I’ll leave a piece of myself behind.
22. Was it all too easy for you – the writing, the publication, and the sales?
No. The writing was the easiest part but trying to use words that would be understood by, but at the same time, entertain 4-7 year olds was challenging.
I selfie published so I didn’t have the added stress of finding an agent or publisher. However, self publishing on a limited budget was another challenge. I had a lot of starts and stops due to financial stumbling blocks.
Sales were and still are the hardest part of this whole process. I was not a business major so I started with no clue on what it took to sell this book. I’m learning as this goes along. On the job training, I guess.
23. Writers are permanently depressed; how true is that?
That is not true. I wasn’t clinically depressed but God and writing got me out of seven years of sadness.
24. Are all writers rich?
I hope so. I’m still waiting for my John Grisham/ J.K. Rowling moment!
25. How did it feel when your first book got published?
I haven’t had any children as yet so I don’t know what looking at your first child feels like but the first time I saw my book in print I believe I had something close to that feeling. It’s a silly little book about a silly little mouse but Eeeky Squeaky: The Fourth Blind Mouse is my baby!