To get us started can you please start by telling us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
My debut release HITTING THE HIGH NOTES comes out February 1 2010; a sequel PESTO PACKIN' MAMA is scheduled for a June 2010 release. Both are to be published by Champagne Books; www.champagnebooks.com. Both are contemporary romances; the first in women's fiction with strong romantic elements; the second is a true romance and my twist on the secret baby plot.
Could you please tell us a little about yourself?
I'm a native Texan who first got bitten by the writing bug when I worked for an insurance agency. I created an office procedures manual that impressed my boss and the honchos at the home office. Later, I moved to Florida as a young bride. That marriage, alas, did not work out and I remained in South Florida where I worked as an administrative assistant and later assistant purchasing agent for petrochemical engineering firm loaded with expatriot Texans and Brits. Later on, I worked for a manufacturer's agent whom I married, thus becoming a life long indentured servant until his recent retirement. Now I'm taking a year off from the corporate world to do the for better for worse and for lunch routine and writing full time. That is, when our three cats allow it. They are very demanding.
If you could be one of the characters from this book - Who would you be? And why?
I'd be Brenda Baxter. She's bold, beautiful, and fearless. My antithesis.
Who or what influenced you when you wrote this book? Did you have a CD, Songs, environment, etc?
I am a devotee of Carl Hiaasen and thought: what if Carl Hiaasen were a woman heading toward menopause. That was the genesis of the story. The old "what if" game borought about one thought leading to another.
Can you please give us a sneak peek into the book?
Sure. Excerpts are available at my website, too.
Maggie Duncan, a South Floridian widow, meets by chance an AWOL opera star in a convenience store. He invites her to his place for a glass of wine. Maggie, usually cautious, agrees. Things are progressing when someone comes to the door. Alarmed it may be sneaky press types, the singer shoos Maggie out the back door. She forgets her purse and when she returns to retrieve it and give the siner a piece of her mind, she's met by the operar star's brother in drag who dismisses Maggie telling her "she" knows nothing of any handbag and, as property manager, only "she" is authorized to be on site. There is no opera star in residence nor anyone authorized in the townhouse.
Maggie involves the cops and meets "a keeper" . There's all sorts of comedic shenanigans along the way.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
I'm working on a historical romance with paranormal elements, Garnet Gale Gets Her Man. It's sort ofThe Ghost And Mrs. Muir meets a "yankified" version of Scarlett O'Hara, set it New England.
What kind of research did you do for this book? Did you enjoy the research process?
Hitting The High Notes takes place in Palm Gardens which is a fictional version of the South Florida city in which I actually lived. Just observing folks, esp. a wonderful server at our favorite upscale resturaurant who is one of a trinity of persons I've know on which I base Brenda Baxter, the heroine's best friend.
What would you like to tell your readers?
I hope you have a quirky sense of humor. It will serve you well when you read my work.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I belong to two; one veddy veddy literary (they tolerate me) and another which is wonderful, constructive, and fun. I take all praise and criticism with gratitude and a grain of salt and then follow my instincts.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
PESTO PACKIN' MAMA: On the way to the altar a woman cooks up trouble.
Kid-adverse Maggie must make adjustments when Bruce Herring (the color-blind cop of HITTING THE HIGH NOTES) learns his seveny-plus year old deadbeat dad has a terminal illnes and a love child, one Bruce must raise.
In the background, Maggie and Brenda are in a mutually beneficial arrangement selling pasta sauces. Maggie has a showdown with a sociapathic loan shark and brains him with a handy bottle of her pesto sauce (hence the name of the book). A true romance, there's a happily every after ending.
Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
I'd like to thank them for taking time from their busy schedules to read this interview and hope they visit my webiste, like what they see, and will consider adding HITTING THE HIGH NOTES and PESTO PACKIN' MAMA to their gotta read lists. And mention it to their friends and family, too.
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 listed on the authors page at Champagne Books as well.
I am also on Facebook and am working on a MySpace page.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
I submitted HITTING THE HIGH NOTES to about eleven billion agens and New York publishers but garnered favorable comments but no revise and submit letters so I tried the ebook market and lucked out with my first contract. I had the most encouragement from my mother, who is no longer with us to my regret, and my husband. Friends and wonderful loopers on Romance Writers of America sites spurrred me on, too, as well as one of my terrific crt pards, Jan. She rocks. Jan is writing a cozy mystery series and I wish her and her agent great success in marketing it.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
My first published work was a "nonfiction work printed in my local paper about one of my cats. It earned a blue ribbon for "pulitzer prize in kiterature"-and a book about fictional cats speaking French.
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
The worst advice was to rewrite my work to fit a market; the best was to write and have fun doing so.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I start with a down-and-dirty two page synopsis then expand on it (greatly) with many twists and turns from what I'd originally envisioned. I don't do character sheets but I think about them a lot before starting the simple outline. Without characters, you've only a blank page. When they start talking to me, then I can begin in earnest. I write the first sixty or so pages to know them even better, toss that start over and go from there.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
My parents, both hardworking, solid, and special even though they were everyday folks, my father was a cabinet maker and fine furniture producer and my mother a nurse. My dear hubby comes in a close second.
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
I'd love to write a jam-up mystery. But, so far, the project eludes me. However, there's always tomorrow!
Thank you for this opportunity!