Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I retired from the University of California, Davis after twenty-three years of working with students, both undergraduate and graduate. I expected to spend most of my time writing, but life required that I move to Tennessee and become a full-time "Nee Nee" to my five-year-old `special needs' grandson. I pictured myself at writer's conferences and book signings, but instead my days are filled with Thomas the Train, Sponge Bob Square pants, and Sprout TV. I can't tell you the name of the last book I read, but I can tell you the name of Sponge Bob's boating instructor-Miss Puff. *lol* Every day is a blessing because Spencer is learning and growing, and that's a very good thing.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I actually belong to two of them. I joined Anne Whitfields, Historical Critique Group and liked it so much that I wanted one for my non-historical side. I formed Creative Critiques for that purpose, and we've decided to limit our membership to six to keep it close and personal. It's a wonderful learning experience. Everyone seems to catch different things and contribute outstanding ideas. I've learned a great deal from my critique partners and I'm thankful for each one of them. I've also discovered some amazing new talent, and you can bet I'm going to continue to follow their careers as a fan.
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
That's a tough one. All of my heroines are role models. They have traits I wish I had and courage that I sometimes can't find. I think if I could step into the shoes of one, it would be Cecile in Prairie Peace. She had a spoiled and pampered upbringing, met and married a handsome cowhand and started a tough new life and adventure on the Prairie. As if that wasn't enough, her husband disappeared and she ended up traveling to an Indian camp with a virile Lakota brave and faced the prejudice of the red versus white world. Cecile faced each obstacle head-on with stoic determination. She became pregnant and remained determined to save her child and provide the love and comfort the new babe needed. When faced with a challenge, she was up for it, and in the end, her decision was heart-rending, but she selected the option she felt best for everyone involved.
What's your favorite genre to read?
Historical Romance set in the old west, naturally. I say that because I've read everything Cassie Edwards ever wrote with the word `savage' in the title. She and Madeline Baker are two people who inspired me to become an author, and I love their work.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
When I feel stymied, I take a break. As I mention below, my characters actually write my story for me, so I imagine that they are taking a hiatus and I enjoy the time off. When they are ready to resume, they let me know. Sometimes it's the middle of the night, and they wake me from a deep sleep, but I have to get up and follow their lead. I was shocked when they revealed the ending of Sarah's Journey to me before we'd even gotten midway through the story. Wow.and what an ending it is. I wrote it as dictated and then finished the remaining chapters. I've currently sent this, my fifth historical, off to a publisher for consideration. I feel it's truly one of my best stories.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
Of course. After a long dry spell, I have two new releases coming in 2008. Embezzled Love, a contemporary romance that is based on an actual true story. My heroine, Cassie Fremont, is really my sister and this is her story of what can happen when you find romance on the internet. I'm so pleased that Lachesis Publishing was willing to take a chance on a `non-conventional' romance.
Also coming in 2008 is Sparta Rose from Highland Press. This is my fourth historical romance and it was inspired by the beauty of Sparta, TN. There's some history sprinkled in the midst of the tale of Ellie Fountain, a tomboy, who competes with the good-looking ranch foreman to show her pa she can do anything a man can do. She aims to run Fountainhead one day, and there's no way that Ty or the rascals on the neighboring spread are going to steal her land and dreams.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
I'm currently revising my second release, Sisters in Time, a time-travel with an historical twist. My contract will expire on this one next, and I received such great reviews, I want to re-release this one, too. I plan to expand on the ending, make it a longer story, and hopefully find a home this time that will make it more visible to readers.
I'm also working on a story inspired by my stint as a Correction's Officer. First Degree Innocence is coming along slowly, but surely. I'm taking my time, hoping this will be the one to catch Oprah's eye. *lol*
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
I want to write "a" book that will be accepted for mainstream publishing. That's the final goal for me. Money isn't the issue; it's the pride of seeing my dream realized. So far, I've struggled with word count and writing the story that fits to the box the publishers create. I'm still trying. Do you outline your books or just start writing?
There are two types of writers: `plotters' and `pantsers'. I'm a `pantser' which means I write by the seat of my pants. I put my ever-growing backside in the computer chair and, once created, my characters develop their own personalities and drag me along on their adventure. I just do the typing.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
Prairie Peace was my debut novel, released in 2003 by Wings ePress. My contract with them recently expired, and I had a chance to sit down and read the book, but as a reader this time. I was shocked at the amateur mistakes that I've since learned to avoid: head hopping/POV, word echoes, passive voice. the whole nine yards. I've since signed with Eternal Press to re-release the book, and besides a new cover, it's also been through another editing by myself and the appointed person on staff with Eternal Press. It's much more polished, and I still love the heroes, heroine and the storyline.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
I'm everywhere. I've joined just about every free promotional site available: MYSPACE, BEBO, BOOKPLACE, etc. My best contacts are:
Thank you for this opportunity!