Where do you hail from and what do you love most about your hometown?
First off, thank you so much for having me on your lovely site again.
I live in the Midwest part of the US and have all my life. For the last five years I lived in a very busy tourist town-- busy only in the spring and summer months. Not long ago, I wanted to live closer to my children so I moved into a brand new town home and a suburban community. I thought I'd really miss living on a lake and all the critters that haunted my woods, but I'm really enjoying the town house.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your career?
As a young child, I wanted to be a dancer and took years of lessons. By the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to do something with writing, but I wasn't thinking romance novels, more along the lines of being a journalist for a newspaper. I did write for several small town newspapers for a time and I also was a paralegal for many years.
Tell us about your latest book. Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
Thanks so much for asking! I so enjoyed writing Dark Night of the Moon, a paranormal wolf shifter and the sequel to Holding On To Heaven. I'm drawn to Native American legend and lore, find it fascinating. So this is real bonus for me if I can include some in my novels.
Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
Not contemporary events, but several of my historical books originated from true stories I discovered on the Internet. Land of Falling Stars sprang from a story about cousins who fought on opposites in the Civil War. Where The Rain Is Made came from true stories about the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers. I don't write or read too much contemporary unless it's gay fiction.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Keta laughs. Yes, all of it. I hear so many people say, "One day I'm going to write a book." And I think to myself, 'good luck with that.' Writing is lonely and it's very hard work. At least for me. I don't just sit down at the computer and start pounding out the words. Generally, I've thought about the story in my head for months before I wrote one word. It's a lonely profession because when it gets right down to it, there's you and the computer (not counting the characters). On the other hand, I love writing and can't imagine the day I close the computer forever. There's something very thrilling about bringing characters to live, getting to know them to the point you hate to say goodbye when you're done writing.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
The same they've heard from every writer. There's only one way to improve, to learn the craft and that's to write every day. And there's only one way to get your book out there to the public -- it's called, "Sit your butt down in the chair and write." Keep at it and one day lights will go on in your head because you grasped one of the skills. There are basic rules to writing and you should learn them if you want to make money at this thing they call writing, but you also should learn when you can break those rules. People always say write what you know about. I think that's good advice. If you love skiing, your book about two skiers falling in love will shine. And write for yourself. If you chase trends and write what you think is popular, but you don't know the subject at all, readers will be able to tell.
Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
Gosh, no, at least not so far. I suffer from too many ideas in my head, way too many. I'll never live long enough to get those stories written. LOL.
Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?
I won't name favorite authors, but I can tell you some of the books I read this year. I'm drawn to paranormal, of course, and not the standard, sparkly vampires. I like unusual creatures and plots. I read some urban fantasy but many of the plots are very similar. So here's some of the books I devoured this year:
Rage Against Heaven
The Spymaster's Lady
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Speaks The Nightbird
I'm sure there are lots more, but those are the ones that come to mind right now.
How did you deal with rejection letters?
I don't write for the BIG publishers, have never submitted tp them, so I don't get rejection letters. I have written for many of the smaller house, Decadent, Amber Quill Press, New Concepts, and a half dozen more, but I don't think I was rejected. Right now, I'm publishing on my own. We'll so how it goes, but who knows what I'll be writing or for who in several years. The industry is always changing.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A command of the English language
A great dictionary
Several books on the craft of writing
And . . . a very vivid imagination
Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
There are a few words I won't use for erotic writing. It's a personal choice. I don't object to anyone else using them though. When it comes to erotic content and gore/horror, this is an individual choice. What scares me might seem like a County Fair to another. Same with erotic. Some people love to read heavy bondage, menage, multiple partners, whatever, and some readers like to get their romance fix by reading about monogamous couples.
What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?
I don't know that this is weird, but Where The Rain Is Made, the Cheyenne Dog Soldier book came about because my youngest son, the bookworm in our family, took a sudden, intense interest in American West history. We spent hours (and I do mean hours) at the local library so he could read everything available to him. He found history of the Native American tribes particularly fascinating. Several years later, his interests changed in reading and I was left with pages and pages of notes on the Cheyenne. I decided to put them to good use and wrote a book.
Thanks again for hosting me. You know I've always had a fondness for your site and the great reviews!
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Gay Fiction Blog: http://thestuffofmythandmen.blogspot.com
Don't forget to enter the contest for a FREE book by leaving a comment below. Be sure to leave your e-mail too in case you win. Blog host will select a winner at the end of the tour and notify you by e-mail. If you read Dark Night of the Moon or Holding On To Heaven, please leave a review on Amazon (here: http://amzn.to/ADePKy). A few short sentences would be great!
GOOD LUCK everyone!