Frequently Asked Questions
How long have your been writing?
I've been writing for as long as I can remember. After getting in trouble as a child for writing in books or on walls, my parents gave me paper and a pen. It was pure heaven. Blank pages to fill up any way that I wanted. Words that I could string together to make people smile or bring tears to their eyes.
When did you get serious about your writing?
My mother encouraged me to use my talent to write larger stories and to seek publication. After her death, I promised myself that I would use my writing gift to entertain others.
Where do you get your ideas?
I have no problem with ideas. There are more ideas floating around in my head than I will ever be able to write. I see a person on the street and imagine what their life might be like and my imagination takes off from there. Or I'll read something in the newspaper that causes me to ask that magic question, "What if?" And wham, I'm off in my own world constructing a story. Often, I'll wake up from a dream and know that parts of it would make a great story. Ideas are everywhere. You just have to be receptive to them.
What's your favorite type of book to read?
I love a good mystery. If there's humor in it so much the better. But I read everything from mainstream to literary fiction.
Why do you like mysteries?
What's not to like? You get to try to solve the mystery right along with the sleuth. You get to figure out how you would have written the story (lol!) and you get to see how other authors stage the murders and the resolutions.
Do any of your characters represent people you know?
No, they don't. I make up all of my characters from my very vivid imagination. However, I do study people and their voices, mannerisms, quirks, and descriptions. I take things from one and add something from another and keep going until I come up with a composite figure that pleases me and fits my story. Sometimes a face will come to me in a dream, or I'll hear a voice in my head. Or sometimes a character will come to me full blown. That's when I know I have to find a story to fit that character.
What's your favorite book?
That's a tough one. There are so many great books. But I think I'd say one of the books that made a lasting impression on me was Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind." Not only does the story keep me interested, but the characters fascinate me. From the spoiled and tenacious Scarlett to the good and true Melanie, the GWTW characters compelled me to continue reading the story. This book is a great study in the contrast of good and evil in characters. And Margaret Mitchell has the reader walk away from the story admiring Scarlett - flaws and all. Now that's a story.
You also write women's fiction. That's a bit different from the mysteries that you love to construct. What compels you to write that kind of story?
Women's fiction appeals to my dark side. I know. I know. And mysteries don't? Mysteries appeal to my dark side, too. But I try to make my mysteries light-hearted and use my sense of humor to have fun with those stories. The women's fiction stories are different. They deal with character struggles in a whole different way. Often their journeys are life and death struggles to survive and find their place in the world. But no matter what type of book I write, I have to have a happy ending.
Would you say you are more of a plot-driven writer or a character-driven writer?
I hate this question. I think I'm both. But if I had to select only one, I'd have to say I'm more of a character-driven writer. When I write I have to feel that I know the characters inside and out. I may not fully know the plot when I start out, but I have to feel like a have a firm grasp on who the characters are, what their hopes and dreams are, and what they fear. I need to know how they'll react in a given situation. Once I know the characters, I find the plot - or the plot finds me. I'm often surprised as I write. I'll think a plot is going in one direction and before I know what's happening the characters have taken me of in a whole new direction.
What is your goal as a writer?
To bring characters to life on the page. To entertain the reader as I tell a compelling story. And to make the reader want to cheer for the characters and live the story right along with them. If I'm able to do that then I feel like I've been successful.