I have always wanted to be a writer, a real writer. In my mind, that meant writing and publishing fiction. But I never felt I was good enough and quite frankly I did not know where to begin. But when I was ready, the inspiration for the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series came, and six books later, I am still going.
Who are your favorite authors?
So many writers inspire me, but my favorites are Charles Dickens and JRR Tolkien. I will never match their talent, but I work to create an imaginary world that can be as real as the ones they have left for us to enjoy.
How long did it take you to write your first book? Who encouraged you along the way?
It took me almost a lifetime to begin my first book. When I finally got started, it took about six more years to get it out of my head and into print. Many, many rewrites. I discovered the value and importance of beta readers. They have been my lifeline. They pushed, pulled, and prodded to get the best out of me. I will forever be grateful to them. I am also grateful to the Ottawa Independent Writers group. They offered ideas, suggestions, and encouragement.
What made you decide to go with Booklocker for your publishing? What has that experience been like?
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
What does your editor remind you to do most often?
There are so many things that it’s hard to pick one. It’s probably to remind me to slow down and add more detail and context to the storyline. She reminds me that readers need to sometimes have more information so that they can understand what my addled brain is trying to say.
What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
I think that my partner has been the most solid and consistent supporter and encourager-in-chief. She has picked me up many times and reminded me why I write and why it’s important to continue. I have also received many notes and e-mails from readers who thank me for brightening up their day. That is enough to get me through the rough patches.
We have all experienced rejection. How have you learned to write past it?
I have been a freelance writer for a long time, so I know rejection well. I have learned that not everybody will like what I do. It may just not be their ‘cup of tea’ as one one-star reviewer once said. I try not to take rejection personally. That helps.
What has frustrated you the most in writing or publishing?
What do you know now about writing that you wished you had known sooner?
That it is not about the product, but the process. That the joy is in the writing and not what gets published. If I do not get joy from my writing, there is no point in continuing, because that is my reward. Everything else is up to the readers. They decide whether it’s a good story.
What is some of the best writing advice that you’ve received or could give?
I had no idea of where to even begin writing a novel, so I followed others suggestions. I offer that same advice to all aspiring writers: Read about how other writers did it. One book that really helped was Stephen King’s “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.” In this book and others, I learned the way to write a novel was to start and keep at it until it was finished. It didn’t matter about the weather, or money, or the economy, or relationships, or even family or sickness or anything. If you want to write a book, you just get up every day and you do it. Good luck with your writing.
Are there any other points about writing that you would like to add?
I sometimes wonder whether what I am doing as a writer makes any difference in the world. Then I get word from a reader who tells me that reading A Tangled Web is helping her get through the recent loss of her husband. Or someone else writes to say that having a friend read chapters from my book eases the stress of chemotherapy treatments.
I am just writing the next Windflower book. It will be out in the fall. I can’t give you a synopsis because I don’t know what’s going to happen yet.