1. How long did it take for your first novel to become a reality?
Forever! It took a year to write it and another six years to sell it.
2. Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
I'm a junkie for shows like Discovery and Travel Channel. I go about
constructing my novels in a little off kilter way. I pick the setting first.
Then when I research the area, I'm able to draw in cultural aspects that can
play a role in the plot. For example, Alaska Twilight, is set on the
southern coast of Alaska. I pulled in brown bear study, factored in elements
of the terrain that added to the suspense, and the Midnight Sun elements. I
even had a weiner dog race. Elements of the setting can add so much to the
theme and the tone of a book. Most writers miss out on the richness they
could pull in from the setting.
3. What is the best advice you can give a pre-published author?
Attend conferences. I know some will say they can't afford it, and I say
it's a business. If you're going to go into business, you have to be ready
to plunk down some investment. Conferences are invaluable for networking
with other writers, meeting editors and agents, and learning more about the
craft. Sell pencils on the street if you have to, but GO.
4. How would you describe your journey to publication?
Long and frustrating. But necessary. I learned a lot in those seven years.
Seven is the number of perfection, you know.
is that I will never "arrive." I want to always be seeking to improve my
craft, to find new ideas, and to reach down and help someone else along the
5. Who is your favorite character and why?
I love Haley in Alaska Twilight. She had so much to overcome, but she hung
in there. Even with only one leg, she was game to give it all she had.
6. What is the best writing advice anyone has given you?
Seek to get conflict on every page. Read Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout
Novel for more on that.
7. Any other comments you would like to give to encourage aspiring authors?
Never give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.
picture? And find some critique partners. They are invaluable to brainstorm,
encourage, commiserate and just generally make your life better. Also, see
who you can help. Don't just take, give it out too.