1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your hobbies and interests.
I grew up and raised a family in Western Nebraska. I taught piano lessons for sixteen years, though I had tremendous performance anxiety. I gave those students who shared my affliction the option of having me sit with them on stage during the recitals. I hope that made them feel better. These days, I love hiking with my husband when I'm not writing.
2. When and why did you start writing books?
I wrote my first full-length novel at ten years old. It was about a young girl who ran for president, all typed on a typewriter using one or two fingers. I got my masters in creative writing at 35 and with that I wrote a novella that was published by a traditional publisher. My entire life I told myself I didn't have what it took to write, so I shoved that part of me to the side, even after writing the novella. The voice would eventually prove to be too powerful to ignore.
3. What made you decide to tackle writing as a career?
A mid-life move to the Pacific Northwest brought changes I wasn't prepared for. I couldn't find work and struggled to make friends. Soon after, I had foot surgery and was mostly housebound for a year. I fell into a deep depression, some days sitting in my closet all day long. One day, my husband was out hiking and had a massive heart attack. His heart stopped six times. While I was sitting in the hospital, listening to the machines beep, it struck me that there is no guarantee of years for us. If I wasn't going to write a book now, then when? During his recovery, I wrote my first full-length novel. The voice inside me became too powerful to hush. I'm finishing up my tenth novel now, and have won several awards.
4. Which one of your books or characters is your favourite?
November Bean. She's quirky and fun, but also has strength from a horrific childhood inside a cult.
5. Which one of your books was the hardest to write and stretched you the most as a writer?
Lavender's Tangled Tree. The multi-generational mistakes are something I hope I haven't inflicted upon my own children. Also, the sense of rejection is very personal.
6. Who is your favourite author and book?
I appreciate the writing and humor of several books, but today, what comes to mind is BARBARA KINGSOLVER. The Bean Trees is one of my favorites.
7. What book are you reading right now?
I can't read when I'm deep in my own writing, unless it's a self-help book.
8. Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
There isn't a singular answer for that. Sometimes, we're on a walk and something pops into my head. Other times, I sit down to write and it's just there. Once I let myself go and embrace my writer identity, the words started flying off my fingers without much concentration. For that I am eternally grateful.
9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I like to exercise when my body behaves. I do enjoy watching mysteries and crime dramas on television. My absolute favorite is sitting by the ocean, but that's the best when I'm writing while I listen to it.
10. Do you have any new books in the works?
So many!! Currently, I'm finishing up book two in the Charming Mysteries, (Tangerine Troubles) series. That will be out in March. Then there is the cozy mystery anthology I'm contributing to in May. (Mysteries, Midsummer Murders and Fun) Many prestigious authors involved there. I'm really loving this sequel to the award-winning, The Story of Keilah. It's called Secrets and Sunflowers and should be out by summer. And that's the first six months. Many more to come, I'm sure.