Introducing one of the authors in “Forbidden Rites.”
1. What genre are your books? Magical Realism
2. What draws you to this genre? I believe there’s a great deal more to reality than what we can see, touch, and prove scientifically. I’ve had spiritual experiences that, honestly, are in the realm of “mystical,” but I’m afraid if I try telling people about them they might lock me in the looney bin! Fiction, on the other hand, invites my readers to suspend their skeptical disbelief and come into “my world, my reality.” And honestly, it feels I don’t have a choice! Every time I write something, a bit of that magic – that otherworld dimension – that ultimate power of love and good – always seems to end up in my stories anyway!
3. What project are you working on at the moment? A romance, working title HORSING AROUND
4. What’s it about? About 30,000 words so far! Oh, wait, that’s not what you meant. It’s about Trisha, a young widow with 4 kids, a psychic gift she doesn’t want anyone to know about, and a ranch full of rescue horses she doesn’t know what to do with. Trisha has to choose between the handsome news anchor who reminds her how she fell in love with her late husband for all the wrong reasons, and the stubborn Yankee vet who seems to show up at all the wrong – or maybe right – times.
5. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special? My main character in INTENTIONAL CONSEQUENCES, Jonni Hedley, is one of my favorite people I’ve ever “met” in my head. Jonni is a born healer. She’s inherited a form of empathy or empathic healing and is also studying the science of medicine, which makes for an interesting combination of gifts to say the least! Although she’s an introvert, she has a great capacity for love and is very loyal, which means that she sometimes gets in way over her head because she’s trying her best to help! If there’s anyone in the world you’d want as your BFF, it would be Jonni.
6. Have you written anything else? I’ve got almost two decades’ experience performing live drama/theater, and as a playwright have had the privilege for of my several three-act plays and shorter works to be produced in various churches around the country. I had a monologue published in a national magazine in 2012, and also published 2 Christmas-themed short stories which were included in locally-published anthologies in 2013 & 2014.
7. What are your ambitions for your writing career? I’d love to be able to write and release 2 novels per year, 1 in each of two different series/settings. Unfortunately, right now my boss still expects me to show up for work every day, and the banks and utilities companies still expect me to pay my bills every month, and my three cats expect food every morning and every night, so I don’t get to write – yet – as much as I want!
8. Which writers inspire you? I grew up on Madeline L’ Engle and CS Lewis, and was introduced to JRR Tolkien by my 8th grade English teacher. I’ve also been inspired by the grande dame of Sci-Fi, Andre Norton, as well as Ursula K Le Guin and Marion Zimmer Bradley, who made it “acceptable” for girls (Okay, geeky, nerdy girls) to read spec-fic. My list of current favorite authors is too long to list and I’d leave someone out anyway, so I’ll just say I’m inspired by a plethora of writers with amazing imagination, creativity, and skill!
9. When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write? I never decided, it just “happened.” One day I had run out of library books to read so I started my own – I was 8 years old. It was about one of my many, many imaginary friends, a little fawn named “Spotty” who followed me around like Mary’s little lamb and kept me from feeling lonely. I couldn’t believe it when I found out my mom, bless her heart, kept that little story (500 words, self-illustrated to boot) for more than 40 years. She sent it to me with a box of keepsakes when my husband and I finally bought our first home together. About 15 years ago I started writing short plays for specific themes and audiences, which was very gratifying. It’s really only been since 2011 that I’ve started thinking of myself as a novelist. And why do I write? I suppose because I finally am old enough and secure enough that I don’t mind letting other people know that I’ve got imaginary friends in my head!
10. Do you have a special time or place to write? Nope. I write on my lunch break at work, in my bedroom when I can’t sleep, sitting on the floor in my “writing nook,” on the backs of agendas at meetings – sometimes even dictating into my phone as I drive to work. (Some of these are not as effective as others). When I’m really on a deadline, I head to the local library or the nearest fastfood place with WiFi, so I don’t get tempted by conversations or Netflix.
11. Where do you get your inspiration? I think my most-fully-developed main characters have a little bit of me in them, and a little bit of my dreams (or regrets). If I had stayed in college as a pre-med student instead of switching to English, what would that have looked like? Jonni, maybe. What if I had a ranch full of horses like I wanted when I was in 3rd grade? Poof, there’s Trisha, the protagonist in HORSING AROUND. What if I had taken the proverbial “road not taken?” So many possibilities, alternate realities so to speak.
12. Do you work on an outline or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you? I seem to know the beginning VERY clearly, and I usually know what the ending looks like before I start. But getting from inciting incident to climax is always a very organic experience, full of interesting side roads and “Hm, I didn’t know THAT when I started chapter 1!”
13. Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you overcome it? I usually write/compose on the computer, using Scrivener and trying not to self-edit as I type. My biggest problem is usually finding time to write, not what to write. But occasionally I do get stuck. When I do it’s either because (a) I’ve realized I don’t have the skills right now to do what I want to do, or (b) I am missing something that my character needs to tell me. If it’s (a), I start a different project, one with no pressure or expectations, to hone my craft. If (b), od fashioned “pen and paper” often gets me unstuck. I’ll write stream of consciousness or something totally random that might be character backstory, or some scene that’s (apparently) not part of the actual narrative,
14. What is the hardest thing for you about writing? Believing in myself.
15. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route? Just starting out in the promotion/marketing/business part of the journey.
16. How much research do you do? Depends on the project! But it’s all grist for the mill. What feels like a ‘rabbit trail’ today might end up in a different project 2 years down the road.
17. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Mostly computer.
18. What are some of your favorite books/authors? Question 8.
19. Are you currently reading any books? ‘Wonderbook’ by Jeff Vandermeer, a historical by one of the members of my crit group entitled ‘Cheat the Wind,’ and re-reading some of the Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey.
20. How can readers discover more about you and your work? Nothing official yet.