Tell us about your most recent release.
EMBROILED is the fourth, and last, of my Em and Yves series. And when I started I only intended to write one book. I guess I write like I talk. The books can be read as “stand alone,” but probably are more enjoyable if read in order.
Is there anything you want to make sure potential readers know?
I read once that readers of fiction like best the books from which they learn something. I hope I’ve accomplished that with my books. The story line takes the reader to many parts of the world that I’ve had a chance to visit or live in; Mali being the most significant for me. The poverty was heartbreaking. I didn’t have a magic wand so I wrote the books as a way to wave that magic wand and make things better for the world. Too bad it’s all fiction.
What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer?
When I first started writing a member of my critiquing group told me I couldn’t learn. I know I’ve proven her wrong.
How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
If there are constructive comments, I take heed and try to incorporate that into future writings. If it’s an “I don’t like it” kind of comment I shrug it off. Reading tastes are unique to the individual. If it’s mean, I do what my mother said, “consider the source.”
When are you going to write your autobiography?
My daughter was reading my first book and said, “I hate it. I’m reading and enjoying and all of a sudden I see you.” So perhaps parts of these books are my autobiography. Em loves the Sahara. I do too. Em goes to Egypt. So did I. Jasmine works in Mali. I lived in Mali for a time. Abby goes to Paris. I love Paris and have been several times. Emily goes “up there” and who knows, maybe there really is a heaven and I’ll see it one day.
Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?
Addiction to the computer! I go through withdrawal if my access is cut off for some reason.
How many people have you done away with over the course of your career?
Four and you have to read the books to see who and why.
Ever dispatched someone and then regretted it?
Nope. Although my husband is ticked off with me for dispatching a couple of the characters in the last book.
Do you ever wish that you had an entirely uncreative job, like data entry or working in a factory?
NO!!!!!!!! That would drive me crazy.
Do you believe in a deity?
I took four books to answer this. I consider myself an atheist, but some readers of my books think the heroine is God. Others accuse me of being anti-Christian. I’d like to think there is something up there.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Have a life away from the computer and work out which I do regularly.
Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?
I’d love to be Em. She has great adventures.
What is the single most powerful challenge when it comes to writing novel?
Marketing! It’s worse than writing. It’s time consuming and discouraging. The people who have read my books and taken the time to review them have been very positive. The trick is to get more readers to give them a try.
How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?
Tons. I was an only child on a farm with no television. Books were the most important thing in my life then (still are) and there were precious few of them available to me. I read the same ones over and over. I still read books I really like more than once.
Why do you think what you do matters?
You know, maybe it doesn’t, but I’ll always believe books are the soul of our society.