Can you tell us 3 things about you that we can't find on the internet?
Well, let's see. I'm a direct descendent of both Miles Standish and John Alden of Mayflower fame. Whenever I do anything right my father attributes it to my blue blood from his side of the family. Whenever I do anything wrong he blames my mother's "tainted" Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Considering my track record, I'm pretty sure I have a lot more Pennsylvania Dutch in me than I do that WASP blue blood.
The first four years of my life my family lived in Puerto Rico, so in actuality, my first language was Spanish (or more accurately, started out bilingual, but had to be told to speak English when my dad was home, because his ability to understand Spanish was limited). By the time I was two, I had a job. I ran from house to house in our neighborhood, acting as an interpreter between the American housewives and maids, who couldn't communicate with one another. As I grew older, it truly began to grate on me that those housewives made no attempt whatsoever to learn the native language. Then again, I'd get a penny for every house trip, so I started out my entrepreneurial spirit at a young age.
I'm an animal freak. Not PETA freakish, but I'm just in love with most living creatures (spiders and snakes are not on the list, but there's no way I could ever harm one...I'd just like them to respect my space and I'll respect theirs. And never shall the two be shared). As much of a hermit as I am, I cannot imagine ever living without a dog. I've also had hamsters, goldfish, guinea pigs, bunnies, ducks, horses, cats and unfortunately a lot of lightning bugs which I could never understand dying on me so fast. But I'll never be able to live without a dog.
Can you tell us a little a bit about yourself?
What I just told you was probably the most interesting things to say. I'm actually a very boring hermit. Unlike my socialite parents, who have friends all over the world and keep in touch with them all, I learned from an early age (considering we moved approximately every two to three years once we returned to the US) to amuse myself, as I was always the new kid, so it took time to scope out who I wanted to be friends with. That led to plenty of alone time. That included, of course, reading books. Many, many books. I read Atlas Shrugged at age eleven, because the woman staying with me during the times my folks were away was reading it. I didn't understand the philosophy part in the least, but I understood the plot line And I thought it was so very exciting. I read it over and over again for that, but I think it was about when I was fifteen years old when I finally figured out what Dagny and John Galt were doing in the bowels of the train station. :)
What is a typical writing day like for you?
No such thing as typical for me. I'm an insomniac, so there are days when I don't even start writing until the middle of the afternoon, and write into the middle of the night. My doc and I have tried desperately to regulate my sleeping patterns, but I don't take kindly to sleep aids. They make me fuzzy the entire next day, so I'm useless. My problem is I can't get my brain to turn off. I'll lie down, and all kinds of thoughts just whir around in there, that lead to more and more. Then I want to get up and write them down so I don't forget by the time I wake up. It's a horrid cycle. He now has me on a very, very mild med that doesn't make me sleepy, but helps my brain to just settle down. It's worked to a certain extent, and I'm desperately trying to get back into an early to bed, early to rise mode. It's been somewhat working.
What made you want to become an author?
Working in the corporate world for seven years after college. I knew, when I found myself crying in the shower every Monday morning before work that something was miserably wrong with the direction in my life. I quit my job, then began to go back for my MBA. After a semester of that I came to the realization that I was just heading back to corporate America, and the Monday morning cry fests. So the next semester I withdrew from the MBA, and just took a creative writing and English class, with the thought I might want to become a teacher. But both classes changed my life. The English class required us to keep journals, and the creative writing class required us to...write. At the end of the semester, I was required to write a first chapter of a fiction novel or short story as my final in the Creative Writing class. That professor told me, "If you aren't thinking about writing now, keep it in mind. You definitely have the talent." I told the English professor, and she absolutely agreed. She told me my journals were her favorites, she saved them for last, because it was the ice cream after a meatloaf supper. So I went, hmmm. And away I went.
If you could write with any author dead or alive who would it be and why?
Oh, that is SO UNFAIR! I have a zillion. But okay, at the risk of hurting the feelings of so many author friends, I'd have to say I have two: Susan Elizabeth Phillips, because I want to watch her mind work in real time (and I SO want to be her when I grow up), and Deborah Smith, because I want her to teach me how to add the depth and richness of her stories that she manages effortlessly (and I so want to be her when I grow up).
What are you working on?
My first woman's fiction book for Bell Bridge books. It's a leap, as I'm so used to Single Title Contemporary Comedy (and there's no guarantee they'll buy it after I write it). The thing is, the idea came from a true story. I was robbed in a grocery store parking lot one night a couple of days before Christmas. The guy didn't want my wallet, he didn't want my jewelry, he only wanted my groceries. I asked if he had a dog. No, he didn't have a dog. He just wanted groceries to give his kids a good Christmas dinner. I showed him my groceries, and other than a can of chicken broth, it was ALL dog treats. The big guy deflated right there. I felt so bad for him, I handed him the forty dollars cash I'd just gotten from the cashier. "Go buy your kids their Christmas dinner."
Although I was a little shaken (not much, as he never pulled a weapon on me), on the drive home I started thinking...hmmm, what a story. So I told my Bell Bridge editor about it, and asked if it sounded like the basis for a book. From there we brainstormed back and forth. So that's what I'm working on. And enjoying.
What are some books in your TBR pile right now?
I have so many, it's impossible to even say. I have a lot of author friends, and I d/l their books to my Kindle the moment they're released. Not to mention, much of my reading is in audio format. I have to drive a lot to visit my family, run long errands, when I need to do laundry and other house chores. So a lot of my reading is listening. I have a ton of audio books not listened to already.
So I can't answer. There are too many.
What are some of your hobbies and/or things that you enjoy doing when you’re not writing or taking care of other author business?
I've attempted to learn to sew. I gave a very expensive sewing machine away to a woman who helped me come clean my house when I fractured my knee. I bought a DVD to teach me to knit. I sucked at that too.
Amazing that my family is filled with talented people, who produce beautiful things, and I cannot even manage to knit a scarf.
So my hobbies actually involve experimenting in gardening every spring, and keeping wildlife birds very happy all year long. My chickadees are so used to me that they sit beside me while I fill feeders, and they'll take seeds from my hands. Hummingbirds will land on my hand if I have some sweet water there.
I guess my hobby is communing with the nature surrounding me.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Only that I thank you, Khelsey, for asking me. This was fun. I'm not a promo, person, so I'm not going to mention my book out this month, Stuck With You, or the one come out in April, The Harder They Fall. It just goes against my nature. :)
Oh, but I will say this. Everyone should Like The Story Garden on FB. You will find a TON of very, very well-loved authors there.
My review of Stuck With You