How long have you been writing?
I feel as though I have been writing all my life, mostly for school assignments, business letters and later short stories for contests I entered. For the past 10 years I've been writing novels.
Do you have a favorite character in your own novels?
Honestly, I have a couple of characters that stay in my mind after the writing is over. My manuscripts are told from a woman's viewpoint and it is my viewpoint I have woven in the characters I create.
What’s a typical day like for you?
The great thing about being a writer is that there really is no typical day. When my daughter was growing up, my writing schedule was pretty much subject to the local school schedule. For years, I wrote during school hours, school days, school months. My ordinary day begins with me feeding my California Scrubjays some peanuts. I’ll write fairly solidly until about four o’clock. There are certainly breaks taken along the way — lunch, phone calls with family & girlfriends, and checking my email, preparing and cooking dinner. At the end of the day, I try to spend at least an hour outside, sitting on my deck and relaxing. Now, of course, I’m supposed to fit blogging into all of that. Wish me luck.
Do you miss working in the office environment?
No, as long as we are financially okay, and my child is well adjusted, I believe my absense in the corporate world was worth the trade off of staying at home and raising my daughter. I fell in love with my flexible schedule, it afforded me the time to write.
How do you recommend new writers get started?
The easiest and most obvious answer is also the most difficult to accomplish: it’s to sit down and keep writing. What I’ve learned is that if I keep writing no matter what I'm writing about you will pursue. When life is tough, I write; when rejections pile up, If I have nothing to write, I research how to become an indie author. Are you seeing a pattern? That’s really what this career is ultimately about. Showing up at your computer day after day to hone your craft. Of course you should take classes and read other peoples’ books and study as much as you can, but none of it can ever take the place of daily work.
What’s your ideal writing day like?
Hmmm…let’s see. The perfect writing day. Well, first of all, I would be in the mood to work out to get the physical exercise out of the way and to stimulate any endorphins exercising may provide. After my workout whether it was the bike, the treadmill, yoga or dancing, I would shower and half-dry my hair, apply minimal makeup, drop a load of laundry in the washing machine and return to my laptop to write, edit, bookkeep, design a website, learn how to format my manuscripts or whatever needs to be done.
Do you always know the whole story, including the ending, when you begin?
I think I do. On occasion, I even turn out to be correct. Because my books are more character than plot driven, the end of my novels are wholly dependent on the characters’ arcs and growth patterns. When I began writing, I followed a strict outline and lengthy character biographies. I spent a lot of my research time creating characters; then I moved them through the plot as I’d conceived it.
Why do you write?
Quite simply, I write because I have many stories to tell. I have sad ones, funny ones, serious ones, coo-koo ones. Writing allows me to be the wife/mother/friend I want to be, with plenty of time for the people I care about, while still giving me something that’s mine, something that defines me as an individual.
How long does it take you to write a book?
On average, each of my books has taken a year to write a draft. I spend about three months coming up with idea, researching it, and formulating a loose plan for the spine of the story and the character arcs. After a few months of research, the writing of the first draft — if I’m lucky — is about five months. This usually entails several “wrong” starts and do-overs. The final process of taking that draft and turning it into the novel I’d envisioned takes between four and six months. Normally, I do about ten drafts of the book.