Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
I’ve always loved to read and write. As a child, I started writing poetry at age nine. During my teens, I kept a journal for two years. It was on 8″ x 11″ paper and swelled to 750 pages! I think that made me love writing because it felt like an escape and that was very seductive. I was a travel writer for five years (2000-2005). It was thrilling when my stories ran in major newspapers and a few magazines. Then I switched to fiction. My first novel, the humorous A SLOT MACHINE ATE MY MIDLIFE CRISIS was published in 2011. The darkly dramatic A DEAD END IN VEGAS came out in 2014. And now POP-OUT GIRL (2017), another dramatic book. It has all been a great challenge and a great joy, a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. I don’t know why I started to write…it was an instinct. Now it’s a compulsion.
Tell us about your books.
My first novel, A SLOT MACHINE ATE MY MIDLIFE CRIS (2011) took five years to write. I revised each chapter about 100 times.The book is long and rambling, but wonderful. I will never again write something that long. It’s too much to write and too much to read. But it was an exhilarating experience. I worked hard and laughed a lot. I look forward to doing another humor novel one of these days.
My second novel, A DEAD END IN VEGAS (2014) was much shorter and took two years to write. It was a sad story but also very inspiring. A beautiful book about love, friendship, betrayal, and revenge. I heard from many readers, who made interesting comments about the characters. It was a joy to write, but also difficult because it was so sad.
POP-OUT GIRL (2017) also took two years to write. It’s the story of a beautiful, sweet showgirl named Jen who pops out of cakes at special events in Las Vegas for a living. She becomes torn between two lovers, and the results are disastrous when one of the lovers starts stalking and terrorizing her and her boyfriend. There are bizarre accidents, a kidnapping and forced marriage, and then a drive-by shooting. The wrong person gets shot–and it changes the course of everyone’s life. It’s a story of love, revenge, and how the mistakes you make as a young, mixed-up person can have lifelong consequences. POP-OUT GIRL is a fast-paced, gripping read with compelling characters, non-stop action, and some insights along the way. I loved writing it and I hope readers will enjoy it.
How did you go about getting published?
I tried to get an agent. I wrote many letters and got many nice replies, but it didn’t work out. So I decided to find a publisher on my own. I got a book that contained lists of publishers and sent query letters to a number of them. A few were enthusiastic about my first novel. I chose the one that seemed most interested and wanted to move forward with publishing it.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
I like to write from 8 A.M. to 11 A.M. and then sometimes for a couple of hours in the afternoon. I write in a small bedroom at the back of my house. It’s very quiet and serene and looks out on a garden and my neighbors’ trees. I like to keep things the same day in and day out. It enables me to focus more on what I’m doing instead of my surroundings.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
I don’t have a job or a pet. When I’m not writing or promoting my books, I love to garden, read, travel, have tea with friends, watch sports, eat out, and go to the movies.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
They are extremely important! Find a nice, patient, creative artist who will hang in there after 20 e-mails back and forth about what you do, or don’t, want on your cover. The artist must also be reliable. Someone who answers e-mails so you can get a hold of them when you need something technical for the printer. The artist I worked with on POP-OUT GIRL has been excellent. We both were happy with the cover.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
I love Twitter. I’ve met so many lovely writers. We all re-Tweet about each others’ books. And I have written to many bloggers to ask them to review my book. That has been pretty successful. I’m about to go on a month-long blog tour. It’s wonderful because it gets the word out through interviews, reviews, and guest posts.
What’s your favorite book?
Probably The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. Intelligent, exquisite writing, amazing characters, and non-stop beauty and insights.
What are you reading now?
Slipstream, the autobiography of British writer Elizabeth Jane Howard.
What’s your next book project?
I’m very involved with marketing and promoting my latest novel. I would love to write another humor book, or a sequel to POP-OUT GIRL.