- A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
Not at all, though the business requires we be comfortable in our own company to do the work we choose. I’ve found by attending writing conventions, authors are among the most genuinely friendly and well-meaning folks around. Strangers reach out to others inviting them into their groups, making them feel at home and welcome. This is a social skill I’ve seen exhibited nowhere else in the corporate world quite so well.
- Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?
The good ones do, if they are smart and lucky. A keen eye for grammar and a stringent editing process with many sets of eyes scrutinizing a manuscript is essential to creating print-worthy books.
- If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
My favorite children’s book was Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott. I adored that book and still do today. She remains one of my favorite authors.
- When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
I was four years old learning to read the Bible with my grandfather. He patiently translated the miraculous stories so I understood the wonder of a world other than the one I lived. I wanted to write stories that made people feel the way those stories did me.
- How important is research to you when writing a book?
Accurate research is essential, whether writing a contemporary or historical novel. It is more difficult and generally takes longer for historical research. Details are extremely important. Readers are smart and savvy. A phony is spotted miles away. Readers call you out on mistakes. Research is part of the beauty and discovery process of writing. I can’t imagine why anyone would consider skipping this vital phase of the process.
- What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
In today’s technical world I can’t imagine using anything other than a computer. Why make life harder? I’ve grown up while copy machines, FAX’s and electric typewriters were new, and the standard was carbon paper. The first computer I saw took up the whole basement of an office building. Never did I consider one would be at my personal disposal. So I love my computer. I carry paper and pens for notes. The computer isn’t always readily available when ideas hit. I type them onto the computer at first opportunity.
- How often do you write?
I write every day, unless I’m editing. Most days I write four to six hours, spend an hour or two marketing and/or social media. If I’m in editing, I spend that bulk of time editing and write maybe an hour or two. Even during editing I have a need to create something new. I feel like something is wrong, when I don’t write. It’s important.
- Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
My days are flexible, but I spend time in the chair putting words to paper every day. I generally write after morning chores and breakfast with my husband, and continue until he puts a cocktail in front of me early evening.
- How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
I think about a hook for a story for a few weeks, formulate ideas in my mind and brainstorm awhile letting them meld and come to life. Then I start capturing ideas into outline format, which changes and evolves as I work through it. From this I start writing chapters. As the story develops, the outline is revised and reorganized. This beginning phase allows my muse to morph into the beginning of a story.
10) Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I plot, but am not opposed to allowing the story to take me somewhere I didn’t originally intend it to go. My characters tell me as I go how they want to evolve, and sometimes they change their minds. I love surprises as much as my readers.
11) Do you think writers have a normal life like others?
I don’t know about others. Personally I strive for a normal work-life balance, though I admit to being a workaholic. I’m self-driven and motivated. I probably drive my husband nuts, but he’d never admit it. I strive for a reasonable number of working hours per day. During edits or pre-launch it’s difficult. Most evenings and weekends I spend with my husband, children and grandchildren; and we babysit for our youngest family member a couple days a week. On those days, I work when he’s naps or after he goes home.
12) What inspires you to write?
Ideas come to me from everywhere mulling around in my mind anxious to hit the paper. I don’t know what I’d do with them, if I couldn’t write stories. It’s who I am.
13) What genres do you write?
My debut was an award winning racy historical romance Gold Lust Conspiracy about Jessie Blackstone’s search for illusive love in savage frontier Skagway, Alaska during the Alaskan Gold Rush in the 1890’s. Skagway is a hotbed of sinister, criminal activity with no lawful influence. My other books are romantic suspense. Most of them—7 so far—are in The Bloodline Series, set on a racing farm in the horse country area of rural Kentucky.
14) What is your latest launch?
My first middle-grade, children’s book Freckle Face & Blondie, book 1 of the series is co-authored by my granddaughter, Harley Nelson. It launches early 2018. I’m excited about the story and hope it is well received. It’s a fun venture working with Harley. In the story, two precocious girls with visions of one day becoming detectives, investigate the disappearance of a friend. As police search, Freckle Face and Blondie uncover clues they missed and take matters into their own hands.
15) What are you working on now?
I’m preparing to launch in spring of 2018 God Father’s Day. It’s a romantic suspense about Justin, whose life seems perfect until tragedy awakens his dad’s evil past threatening to destroy Justin’s future and his chances with Becky, who has been hurt before and can’t compete with his wealthy fiancé. It’s set in a lake resort community
16) What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?
It’s extremely important that an eye-catching cover with an intriguing title be selected for a book. It’s the first impression and sometimes that’s all you get to catch a reader’s attention. The blurb would be important, but they only read that if they are attracted to what they see up front.
17) Have you ever designed your own book cover?
Never. I consider myself an artist to a certain extent, but I’d never attempt to create something as vital to the success of my book as the cover. I have formed a great working relationship with a couple of excellent professional artists who take that job off my shoulders.
18) Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
It’s vital. Sometimes that’s the only chance you have to spur attention to your book. It should reflect the genre, theme and personality of the story being told.
19) Do you attend literary lunches or events?
I love attending any event I can supporting libraries or groups associated with reading. I look forward to any opportunity to connect with readers.
20) Do you read and reply to the reviews and comments of your readers?
I read them all, save them and respond to thank them for their review. Reviews are important to book and author standings, so I’m always grateful for them.
21) Does a bad review reflect on your writing?
Of course, because once it’s out there, it’s public knowledge. I always look for tidbits of help even in a bad review. Feedback is a gift when it is honest and given from a kind perspective.