1. Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.
Exciting, satisfying, naked
2. What is your favorite genre of literature?
I don’t have a favorite genre and read widely: all types of fiction (except stock romances and sci-fi fantasy,) and non-fiction, with a strong interest in history.
What I do look for is quality in writing and an avoidance of the predictable. I hate that, when you know from the first page how things are going to turn out. A book that can whisk me out of my life and into a private world people with believable and engaging characters is what I look for, something satisfying, surprising, and thought-provoking.
3. At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. Well, not true. I do remember the excitement I felt just before starting school and knowing I was going to learn to read. The refrain from childhood that best describes my life was “get your nose out of that book and do as you’re told!” I was totally indiscriminate in my reading; if it was in print and I got my hands on it, I read it. I’d slip books out of my parents’ room and devour them, most of them unsuitable for a child. I remember sharing the juicier passages from James Bond with my best friend, Debbie, and we were only in grade four at the time.
No sooner was reading under my belt than I started writing. I wrote and “self-published” (gathered together my hand-printed pages along with my own illustrations, made a cover and sewed it up with colorful yarn) as early as grade two.
My passion for story-telling and writing and the subsequent neglect of other school work and home chores led to much trouble. But no matter what edicts my parents lay down, I wouldn’t (couldn’t) quit, though I did become far more secretive.
I have to say the ability to write has served me well in life, even in the business world, though business almost killed my writing. After years of publishing such exciting works as “Internal Controls in the Payables Cycle,” going back to active, creative writing was difficult at first. I owe a lot to my editor, Kathryn Lynn Davis, for helping me rediscover my voice, and the mechanics that had grown so rusty.
4. What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read?
Different works appeal at different points in life, don’t they? That which seemed outstanding at age 21 is likely to be very different from what appeals at almost 60. My tastes are so eclectic, I can’t put my finger on any one title and say “this is the best book ever.”
I often allude to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird as one of the best written novels, technically speaking, but do I consider it the best book I’ve ever read? I can’t. I love Margaret Atwood, for example and enjoy many of her books, the early Maeve Binchy (Circle of Friends for one), the classics such as Jane Austen and company, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, James Michener, Phillipa Gregory, Agatha Christie, Defoe, loads of one-book-wonders from authors soon forgotten, so many my mind has gone blank and is unable to recall them all.
Sorry – all these words to say I can’t answer this question.
5. Describe the process of getting a book self-published.
I did not self-publish though I am considering it for the future.
6. What message, thoughts, or ideas do you want readers to take away from The Bird Flew Away?
I’d like readers to leave the story with a new understanding of childhood trauma and abuse, that it is not the “ruination of a young life,” that survivors are not emotionally crippled for life, unlike popular portrayal in the media. Considering that experts in the field estimate worldwide figures as 7 out of 10 girls and 4 out of 10 boys will experience sexual abuse before the age of sixteen, it is time we take a realistic look at this widespread problem. It also means that a large percentage of my readers will have firsthand knowledge of the subject. Perhaps if you are among that majority, and you did not receive the help you deserved, Bria’s story, which really is a road-map of the healing process embedded in a fast-paced read will bring comfort.
I also explore the meaning of love, real love not romance: the love that binds a family (and the idea that family is not restricted to the traditional) and the strength we draw from it, the love between a mother (mother-figure) and her troubled daughter, the love that can grow between a principled young man and the damaged girl he tries to help, how we are all caught up in a web of love and would not survive without it and finally, there are times the greatest expression of our love is to deny it and set our loved one free.
Above all, this story is a celebration of the human spirit and the strength within us that allows us to move on. In all the children it has been my privilege to meet, I have always been in awe of their ability to survive, to re-invent themselves on an almost daily basis and go on being children no matter what hell rages around them. I have tried to bring this spirit, their easy laughter and optimism to life in these pages.
7. Any sneak peeks at what is upcoming from you?
The sequel to This Bird Flew Away, currently under the working title Fly High; Fly Blind is currently complete in draft form and in the hands of selected readers for their input before further revision and then edit. I’ve taken the requests of my readers of the first book into account, and continue the tale of Bria and Jack, Mary and Annie, Tara and some new characters, set against an exciting legal drama. I haven’t yet decided how and when this book will be published, but it will.
Lately, I’ve found a brand new novel working its way into my mind, something completely different. I’m still laying out the skeleton, so all I can tell you it will be a reflection of my latest work, caring for seniors so they can stay in their own homes, providing them with assistance, cooking for them, shopping for them and above all meeting their need for companionship. Getting to know these people has been inspiration enough for a number of novels.
8. What is it that you like to do when you’re not reading/writing?
I like to make things: sewing, artwork (though I’m not very good,) jewelry making and cooking (and I am very good at that.) I putter in my garden, go to the beach, play with my dogs (two mastiffs,) and just hang out with my husband, Jim.