1.What inspired you to write this book?
a. At the time I started writing MATEGUAS, I lived on an unconnected island off the coast of Maine. Access was only by private boat or ferry. I also had recently purchased a new invention called the iPad. I had a lot of "down time" either on the ferry or waiting for the next one so I decided use the iPad to try to write a novel. I'd written songs and poems before, but I always had stories rattling around in my head and it seemed the right time to attempt to actually put one down on virtual paper.
2. If you had to co-author a book, who would be your ideal partner and why?
a. That's a hard one. In my genre, one of the obvious choices would be Stephen King. I love his early writing (THE STAND, IT, SALEM'S LOT, THE SHINING) and his collections of short stories. But I think, if I had to make a choice, I'd pick Shirley Jackson. Her THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is, in my opinion, the best haunted house story ever written. I also loved her very dark WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE.
3.Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I'm a retired, single lady, living in a big rambling house with three special needs rescue dogs -Splatter, Spudley and Jasper. I was born on the East Coast but my family moved to Michigan when I was very young. After college (Carnegie Mellon, '70), I moved to the San Francisco Bay area where I lived most of my life. I think I will always consider the Peninsula 'home'.
I worked at various jobs before ending up at Stanford University School of Medicine, staying there for twenty wonderful years working as a Senior Financial Analyst in the Department of Pediatrics. When I turned 50, I was lucky enough to be able to take early retirement, sold my home in Belmont for a bundle of money, and moved to the high desert in Central Oregon. That's where I adopted my three dogs and became involved in animal rescue. From there, I moved to the aforementioned island in Maine and then, full circle, back to Michigan where I live now.
4. What do you do for a living?
a. I'm retired so the only "work" I do is writing and promoting my writing. My dogs - one blind, one with difficulty walking, and one diabetic - take up a good deal of my time, too.d grew up in Burlingame, not far from where I used to live on the Peninsula.ng, and one diabetic - take up a good deal of my time, too.
5. What part of the world do you live in?
a. Right now, Michigan. Tomorrow, who knows? I'm thinking about the southwest - maybe Sedona.
6. How long have you been writing?
a. Novels - only about four years. Before that, I wrote mostly songs and poems for fun. When I was quite young, my sister and I used to write comical plays based on popular TV shows of the time. When we were finished, we'd record them on a big old reel-to-reel tape recorder my father had. My sister, by the way, is also a writer.
7. What is your writing process like? Are you a pantster, a plotter, or somewhere in between?
a. I am definitely a pantster. Outlines, index cards and stuff like that make me cringe! I write in my head late at night, then sit down at the computer in the morning and regurgitate it. Or I just sit down and write.
8. When and where do you write?
a. I write directly into the computer. I used to use the iPad a lot but not anymore. Since I'm a morning person, I do most of my best work before noon.
9. What sorts of conditions are most conducive to productivity?
a. I like it quiet. I don't play music or anything. And I take lots of breaks. I'll stop and play a computer game or do something around the house or walk the dog, then come back to what I've written and read it aloud to see how it sounds.
10. What's your favorite aspect of being a writer?
a. The fun stuff I get to do with my characters. You can't do those things to people in real life! I get to kill them off, put them in horrible situations, ruin their lives, make them fall in love with the wrong people, etc.
11. Your least favorite?
a. Marketing and promoting - I don't know any author who really enjoys that stuff. It takes up so much time that could be better used for writing!
12. What are the biggest challenges you face as a writer?
a. Right now getting the third novel in the MATEGUAS SERIES written! I've have the prologue, the epilogue, and some pieces of the middle done, but I'm having trouble with the beginning. It was the same with RETURN, getting everyone to the island is difficult and not the fun part of writing a supernatural novel.
13. Who are some of your favorite writers and why?
a. John Fowles because he wrote my favorite book of all time, THE MAGUS. Stephen King's early work because I love his characters, especially the younger ones. One of my favorite books of his is THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON, a story about a young girl who gets lost in the Maine woods. Baseball plays a big part in it, too. And, last but certainly not least, Vladimir Nabokov because he wrote LOLITA!
14. What are your favorite books?
a. My all time favorite book is THE MAGUS by John Fowles. I don't know how many times I've read it, but each time I come away with something new. Another favorite is THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein. I'm a dog lover so this book has a special place in my heart. A WALK IN THE WOODS by Bill Bryson is another great and fun read. SHADOWLAND by Peter Straub - very dark horror. And THE STAND and THE SHINING by Stephen King - both masterpieces.
15. What writing tools do you use, if any?
a. If by tools, you mean writing programs, I don't use any - just the computer and WORD.
16. How long does it typically take for you to write your first draft?
a. The first draft of MATEGUAS ISLAND took me two seasons - from April to September. RETURN TO MATEGUAS was done in pieces. I wrote about two-thirds of it in a couple of months then left it for six months or so. Then I rewrote the whole thing.
17. Your final draft?
a. It took me about three years to get to a final draft of MATEGUAS ISLAND that I was happy with. RETURN was quicker, probably about a year and a half. I was actually working on both of them at the same time - polishing MATEGUAS while writing RETURN.
18. Who's your favorite character from one of your books? Why?
a. Gotta be Karen. Many people don't like her, but I do. She's not your average heroine - she's selfish, bitchy and sometimes mean. But she grows and learns - and that's why I like her.
19. If you could have one superpower what would it be?
I'd like to be able to teleport! Not fly, but be able to just move through space instantaneously from one locale to another. I'd like to get up in the morning in Michigan and, if it was snowing, be able to transport myself (and my dogs) to a tropical beach for the day. Or maybe to the wilds of Australia. No driving to the airport, going through TSA screening, struggling with luggage, missing connections - none of that. Just one moment I'm here and the next, I'm there!