I've been writing my whole life but I found a passion for the written word when an elementary school teacher entered some of my poerty into a competiton. Winning gave me a taste of success and showed me that through the written word, I could have a voice that was louder than a mouse's squeak (I was not blessed with a voice that booms like thunder).
When did you sell your first book?
A few months after my 40th birthday, which just goes to show that women in some cases are like cheese and fine wine: with time comes an ageless perfection. ;-) All kidding aside, I focused on my family first and then still had more than enough time to pursue my dreams.
What type of writer are you? Do you plan ahead/plot or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants?
Does both count? I kind of plan and plot in my head for eons and then when I do sit down, I kind of go into this haze and type fast and furious. I then put it away for a while. Later I go back to it however many times I need to in order to feel that it is just right - or write - as might be in an author's case. ;-) So when I actually do sit down to write the story, it doesn't take me very long becuase it's been scripted out and played in my head so many times already.
How do you choose your characters' names?
Many times I use the names of people who mean a lot to me - kind of like naming a child after a namesake. But then there are other times when a character names themself and I don't dare change it because they have such a strong will and voice. Like I have a character I am working with right now whose dialogue is in my head. His name is Hannity Caldwell. He was one of those who named himself.
Wow, do I sound crazy or what? I guess most authors will understand though....
What is your daily schedule like?
Right now it's been pretty chaotic since I've been trying to go through my mom's estate and get things wrapped up there so I can get on with life. Usually though, I get the kids off to school, get myself together, and then hit the keyboard for a couple of hours before taking a break, running errands, cleaning up, and then I get back to it before the kids get home from school. And then I'm off to do carpools and play taxi as a soccer, hockey and scout mom.
How do you handle life interruptions?
Like anyone else, one interruption at a time. This is life after all.
Do you write with music playing? If so, is the music likely to be songs with lyrics or only instrumentals?
Nope, I usually write in complete silence so the voices in my head can be heard and inspiration felt. There is enough noise to last me a lifetime when my boys get home from school. ;-)
What food or snack keeps the words flowing?
Food? Much to the dismay of my endless pit we call my third son, I forget what food is when I'm into writing a really good story. It's usually his constant barrage of "What's for dinner? What can I eat? What's can I have for a snack?" that pulls me out of my reverie.
What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?
Having a voice that can be heard and listened to through the thoughtful usage of the English language, rather than having to resort to vile words or screaming matches like some in this world think you need to.
Being neurotic and questioning everything I write, knowing it can make a differance to someone out there.
Tell us about your book, The Santa Letters.
The Santa Letters is about a family who is struggling with the loss of their father after a terrible hit and run accident. They find hope and healing through a series of letters signed simply "Loving Always, Santa" and come to understand the true gifts of the season - the greatest one being a Savior and life eternal.
What is your next project?
It is a companion book to The Santa Letters called The Inmate Letters, which picks up more of Guillermo's life and continues on with his story of healing and redemption through his association with the Jensens.
What is your advice for other writers?
Don't give up hope, and hone your skills in whatever way you can. God gave us talents to use - not to bury in the sand - so use them and prosper them and then share them with others.
What other work of yours has been published?
No other books but I have had my byline on close to 1,500 print articles over the course of the last six years.
Thank you for the Interview.
No, thank you, Marsha. It has truly been my pleasure!