Q: How long have you been interested in writing?
A: It began as a child. I remember deciding to become a novelist when I was in fourth grade, but I believe I wrote my first “novel” earlier than that. It was about two sisters growing up in an 1840s canal town. It was mostly dialogue, but it was the first of many ideas I had in my youth. Before that, I wanted to be an astronomer. Astronomy, especially planetary science, still fascinates me, but I didn’t have the math aptitude to do it as a career, nor did I want to spend a decade in school to earn an PhD.
As far as nonfiction goes, I didn’t become interested in that until after I got my degree. I needed a way to earn a living, and journalism is at least a related field.
A: I didn’t really choose novelist as a profession. It chose me. I’ve tried to walk away from it and do other things, but it keeps pulling me back. I’m genetically predisposed to be creative. My paternal grandmother’s side of the family tree is filled with creative people. It’s in my blood.
Q: What kind of writing interests you the most?
A: Historical fiction. Everything I’ve written with one exception has been historical fiction. The one exception was speculative fiction. I began it when I was 17 and tried rewriting it probably four times and could never make it work. I still think sometimes, though, about the characters and world I created.
A: Historical fiction seamlessly blends two of my loves – fiction and history. Angel of Mercy is the first novel I’ve loved and felt strongly enough about to see through to publication. It has become an obsession and turned me into a workaholic, but it’s a story I believe is worth fighting for.
Q: What is your education?
A: I have a Bachelor’s degree in English and a certificate in social media for journalists. The vast majority of the history I know – and I’m knowledgeable enough that I consider myself an amateur historian – has been self taught.
Q: What kind of writing have you done professionally?
A: I have done mostly journalism – articles, blog posts and newsletters. But I’ve done other things as well such as employee training manuals, web copy and marketing bios. In addition, I do line editing work and proofreading.
Q: What do you like to read?
A: I’ve always loved the classics. My favorite author is Edith Wharton. But lately, I’ve been reading mostly research books.
A: I enjoy Edith Wharton because she wrote about hypocrisy during Gilded Age New York City. Wharton was born in the 1860s and she grew up in New York high society, so she wrote based on first-hand experience and observation.
As for the reference books, even though they are part of my work, I don’t think of them as work. I geek out on that stuff. I enjoy learning something I never knew before, or learning more about a subject, especially when it relates to Angel of Mercy.
Q: Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
A: I’d love to be able to work on fiction full time. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to work on it. Fiction is something that brings me joy, and job satisfaction is very important to me.
Q: What kind of characters do you like to write about?
A: I like to write about strong women. I really don’t like it when women fall into the age old stereotype of being weak and needy. Of course, even the strongest among us have those moments. Characters need to be multilayered to be real. If you read my work and come away feeling as if you’ve just met a real person, I’ve done my job correctly.
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