1.) Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I wrote my first novel, Face-Off, when I was 16 years old, in high school study halls, and it was originally published when I was 18 after I entered it in a contest. After college, I worked as a newspaper reporter for several years and later in public relations and marketing. Now I'm mainly focusing on writing and promoting my fiction books, which include the adult mystery/romantic suspense novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim, the YA titles Dark Before Dawn and Face-Off; and the children's books The Flag Keeper and The Teddy Bear Town Children's E-Book Bundle.
2.) Favorite hobbies?
I'm very holistic, and I'm trained in Reiki (a form of hands-on energy healing) and Tai Chi. I wouldn't call Reiki a hobby, but I use it on friends and family when they need some energy balancing. I love to read books, both on my e-readers (I have a Kindle and Sony) and in print. I've also taken up a new hobby, coloring mandalas - a Sanskrit word meaning "circle." You can buy books filled with different kinds of mandalas to color or paint, from different cultures. I enjoy it as it's very peaceful and it's also creative. I have a hard time sitting still to meditate, but this has a similar effect.
3.) What is your favorite book?
My favorite all-time book is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s about three "greaser" brothers, and the greasers' battles with the Socs, or the rich kids. I also love the Harry Potter series and think J.K. Rowling is absolutely amazing to have created such an intriguing, captivating and well-developed series.
4.) Where did you first get the idea for Dark Before Dawn?
I originally started this book when I was in my early twenties, and it went through many versions over the years, going in and out of my drawer. I loved the books of Lois Duncan, Christopher Pike, and R.L. Stine when I was a teenager, and those were my inspirations. As I got older, I got interested in topics like energy healing and chakras, so that knowledge helped to deepen the book.
5.) How did you come up with the title?
It was originally titled Deadly Thoughts, but an agent who worked for the agency that repped Mary Higgins Clark suggested that I change it as she felt it sounded like the title of a "Mary book" - a suspenseful women-in-jeopardy novel. She thought another title might be a better fit for the young adult age group. Dawn is the name of the main character, and in the book, she must choose a path of darkness or light - good vs. evil. She is walking a fine line. The cover also reflects a mix of darkness and light, to drive home that theme.
6.) You've written for many different ages and ranges. Are there any that you enjoy writing the most?
I plan to make my main focus adult fiction, as that comes the easiest to me, though I may have a few more YA novels in the future. I'm working on a sequel to my YA hockey novel Face-Off, and several readers have asked for a sequel to Dark Before Dawn. Right now, I'm working on an adult romantic comedy/chick lit novel, and am surprised to find that I'm very comfortable with this genre as it's new to me. I also have an adult mystery novel that I need to finish, but that's on the backburner.
7.) Any advice for aspiring authors?
As a start, I'd recommend taking creative writing classes, either on-line or in-person, finding critique partners or a writing group, and either taking a few marketing classes or reading a lot of marketing books. In addition to writing as much as you can, learn how to rewrite and edit. In addition, all writers should know that e-books are outselling print books and be aware of the independent publishing opportunities available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retail outlets like Smashwords.
8.) If you could only read one book for the rest of the year, what would it be?
If I could make it one series, I'm really addicted to the House of Night vampire school series by PC and Kristin Cast. I've read several and need to catch up with the rest of the series, and there are also some novellas that expand upon minor characters. I'd go crazy if I couldn't find out what happened next!
9.) When writing, do you prefer any special spots, beverages, or rituals at all?
My first choice is sitting at my desk, but I also have a small AlphaSmart word processor that I take when I'm waiting in an office for an appointment, or if I just have 10 minutes to write and don't have time for my computer to get warmed up. I've been known to lay on the floor against a backrest in my walk-in closet in the fifteen minutes before my family wakes up, with my cat crawling all over me!
Now for the giveaway
Ends May 5th
Ends May 5th