Frequently Asked Questions
Will you write Bess and Dolley’s stories?
Absolutely. And I have plans for Cheryl’s story too. And I may even redeem Gray’s not so pleasant sister. She’ll be a lot of work and fun.
Did you always want to be a writer?
No. I thought I would be an actress, singing and dancing in musicals. My mother and sister were the writers. But in high school we had to keep a journal for one of our English classes and my teacher met with me, saying I had talent. Her comments didn’t change my dream. But my freshman English composition teacher read a short creative writing piece on fairies out to the class. Then met with me and suggested I publish it. It was a middle grade or younger piece. She even wanted to help find an illustrator. But my mother was an artist. Again I did nothing with the story and it was lost. But the creative writing bug was planted. I think writing is my way to perform again.
How did you start writing?
I went back to journaling after the death of my brother. I needed an outlet for all my feelings. I took a summer off when my children were pretty young and started to toy with another middle grade story. It involved a bunch of kids and Indian spirits and lakes. I stopped when I took a CFO position that required massive hours, but again there was a burning to tell stories still in me.
How do you get your ideas?
For some reason, I get most of my ideas while driving. When I had a commute that was 30 minutes to an hour and a half, this was great. I did a lot of plotting. But now I write full time. Although I still like a good road trip to let my mind wander. Sometimes it’s a random thought that just grabs hold of me and won’t let go. And sometimes it’s a news story or a song that becomes the seed of a story idea.
What influences your writing?
My curiosity. I love to know why or what or who. I’m willing to try most anything. (I’m repelling down a waterfall in this picture!)
And I’ve worked in very different industries. Since I was first an accountant, my skills were transferable to different industries. But what set me apart was the ability to analyze and problem solve. I have always been a trailblazer. The first woman in management to become pregnant. The youngest Director. Sometimes that forced me to work longer hours than my peers. I worked for a railroad that owned pipelines, natural resources, and incredible art. And it had a rich history that I wanted to ensure survived. Then a clinical system and finally a pharmaceutical company. I tend to write a lot of business and don’t understand why my editor wants to pull back on the details of creating a spreadsheet! Spreadsheets run the world!
My family is also a major influencer. They are my foundation. I didn’t realize until I’d written a number of books, that my characters always looking or searching for family or the connections that represent family. If my heroes or heroines don’t have a strong family background, they will when they get their happily-ever-after.
I’ve written a book. Now I want to get an agent. How did you find yours?
Funny thing about my agent, she rejected me three times before she thought I was ready. (Three different manuscripts.) My path to publication just emphasizes that writers need to learn their craft. My agent reviewed my 2010 Golden Heart manuscript and rejected it with a form letter. I ran into her in the bar at the 2011 RWA conference after the awards ceremony and she requested my 2011 Golden Heart manuscript. (Never underestimate the power of being in the bar during RWA—and wear your name badge with all its ribbons.) She called to reject that manuscript and spent forty-five minutes on the phone with me talking about what sub-genre I wanted to write in. I quickly sent her another manuscript. She rejected that one with a long letter. She wanted to make sure I didn’t stop sending her manuscripts. She offered representation on the fourth manuscript she reviewed. I’d finally gotten all the pieces together. (Conflict is my nemesis!)
Do not take rejection as a closed door. They are rejecting your manuscript—not you. And learn your craft. Take classes. Get a critique group. Submit to contests. You need to know how people react to your writing.