1.)Can you give a brief description of your book?
Dead On is an indie thriller that was film-optioned for 2 years. It’s about a medical examiner in Doylestown, PA, who’s being chased through time by the same killer.
2.) Why did you write this book? What initiated this particular burst of creativity?
I’ve always been a writer as far back as a remember. It was always my dream to be a novelist. When my son was born, I had an epiphany. As a full-time working mother, I realized, I’m never going to have extra time. If I want to do this now, I have to find a way. I wrote while my son napped and during lunch breaks and wrote things down on napkins at red lights. I worked with a local life-coach, Gayle Crist, on my writing goals. I think being sleep deprived actually helped me because my internal critic was ‘down’. I had a finished book and decided to publish it myself. Writing makes me a better mom and my son can see that hard work pays off and has it’s own rewards. However, this is a fiction book for adults with adult themes. My son won’t be reading it until he’s 17 or 18.
3.) Does your story line develop organically or is it a gestalt before you begin?
Great question. It took me a long time to realize that I am not an outline writer. I begin with a character and a what if situation and if the character is compelling enough, like Ann Yang, the fictional medical examiner in Doylestown who has lived several past lives, the plot develops from the character. In this instance, Ann must stop a killer in the present who claims to have killed her before, in other lifetimes. She must use all her forensic skills—as well as the unconventional method of past-life regression, or hypnosis to remember the past lives—to stop the killer for good. Every writer is different and each writer should trust and believe in the method that works best for him or for her, whether it’s outlining or character development.
4.) Do you have a favorite character in your book and if so why?
This is a tough one. I love the tough character of Ann Yang, who is willing to see things out of the box to solve crimes, but I love the character Ruth, in a past life in the early 1900s in Doylestown too. She’s a girl who is confused about who she is and doesn’t have anyone to talk to. Her parents are beaten down and don’t treat her well, and this was very difficult for me to write, because I have really great parents who always nurtured me and still support me. I deliberately pick characters to write about who are completely different from myself but who I can relate to in some way. That way, I feel like I learn something about life.
5.) What do you like the most about writing?
I feel like writing gives me hope. It helps me deal with the way the world is and with things I don’t understand. It’s like in the story and movie Big Fish—one of the best stories about stories I’ve ever read/watched. The main character tells extraordinary tales to feel less ordinary. I love to play with language and create.
6.) Where do your new story ideas come from?
It’s hard to say. For me, as a writer, I like not knowing where all these things come from. It’s leaves a bit of magic in the process. I think sometimes it’s the subconscious that churns things over and spits out the most unexpected ideas at times. Combine that with just listening to conversations around you while you are out and about—sometimes you get really great lines of dialogue you can turn into a story. Reading the paper and reading, reading, reading. I am constantly reading. I am in love with books and language. And let’s face it, we all love to be entertained and to escape the sometimes tedium routine of our daily lives.
7.) What advice has helped the most in your writing?
Well first my parents have given me a great gift in helping me to believe I could do this. Also, the support of my family, friends, and fellow writers who struggle with the same challenges when writing and trying to get published. I have several really good writing books that I pull out and re-read too. Ray Bradbury’s book Zen in the Art of Writing; Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg; also some writing books by Gail Sher, especially One Continuous Mistake. The best teacher too is just sitting down and doing it. That’s how you learn. And last but certainly not least, the readers. I’ve met many wonderful people who’ve read my book who became good friends.
8.) What is the favorite book you have written?
That’s a tough one. I had so much fun writing Dead On. I actually interviewed a past-life regressionist and spiritual channeler in Doylestown, Jean Finch, while writing the book. Fascinating. For my second novel, Shards of Summer, I interviewed a three-star general, an FBI agent, set it in a place I love—Ocean City, New Jersey. I recently completed a novella set in Post-Katrina New Orleans that I’m really excited about. It’s about a woman whose fourth husband tries to kill her during the hurricane by chaining her to a radiator in the hopes that she’ll drown. She has to cut her own hand off to survive. She believes she’s van Gogh reincarnated and beings to paint murals over the homes in the Ninth Ward spray painted by the government with Xs to indicate the number of dead inside. This novella was recently named one of the top 14 books in an international 2009 Leapfrog Press fiction contest; nearly 500 blind entries were received from 10 countries and my book as in the top 3% of the winner. I’d really like to do something special with this book, get it published and perhaps do some signings to raise money for people still rebuilding their lives in New Orleans. I’m also working on a really fun zombie novel right now and a fourth novel involving werewolves.
9.) Who is your favorite author and why?
So many! Charles Bukowski, Ken Bruen, Susanna Moore, Alice Sebold to name a few….
10.) What advice would you give for the want to be writer?
Believe and keep running the race. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and publishing is not the only reward. There are many rewards.