1. Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not? Not for a moment. Writing novels, getting them published, and doing all the after work is a lot of effort. I’m also proud of the stories I’ve created and don’t mind the tiny bit of notoriety that comes from all the work.
2. Have you ever traveled as research for your book? Oh yes, Utila, off the coast of Honduras is a scuba diver destination. My husband and I scuba dive as does my daughter and her husband. We’ve been there many times. We stay at the Utila Dive Lodge this is the setting for ‘Diving in Heart First’, a romantic suspense novel. The photos on the back of the book are mine, my daughter’s, and my husband’s.
3. Have you used an app to borrow ebooks or audiobooks from the library? Yes, all the time. I use a tablet on ‘dark mode’ so I can read at night and not disturb my husband. I buy a new book from an author and sometimes finish the book too soon. So, I’ll look up their back list in Libby, our library system app, so I can continue on.
4. How did you come up with the title for your book? The name Condo Crazy, as well as almost all of the hijinks in the book were spawned from stories my sister would send me about her time owning a condo in Winnipeg. I told her she should write a book, but she said, ‘No, you can.’
5. How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
My husband and I will have lunch out somewhere new, or try a new café and order something we’ve never tried before. Sometimes it’s a good decision and sometimes the adventure ends up in another novel.
6. How do you come up with character names for your stories?
Location names. I use place names of towns and villages, road names, and I also collect names from people I meet. Norcross is from a road. Leith, from a reader I met at a book signing. Wyatt is a friend of my mother’s who asked to paint a photo I took and it was lovely.
7. What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
I’d say watch out for vanity presses who charge the writer money to publish their book. There are so many avenues to self-publish or small presses who don’t require an agent. All are free, so don’t rush into paying someone to do it for you. Secondly, use your library resources, also free. There may be a writing group you can meet with and expand your skills. There also may be a state or provincial writing association or guild. Join them and leverage their contacts in the writing community.
8. What are common traps for new authors?
I’d say impatience is a trap. Once published, new authors look for feedback or acclaim of some kind right away. It takes time for word about your book to reach your audience, you need to investigate were your readers congregate and communicate with them on that platform. If it is Facebook, find the reading groups who appreciate your genre and share your book news with them on a regular basis.
9. What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?
Absolutely nothing. In my mind there is no such thing as ‘writer’s block’. There is ‘I don’t feel like writing today.’ Or, and probably more likely, the writer has ‘taken a wrong turn’ in the story and is now stalled. When this happens, and believe me it happens to most writers, I back track through the last few scenes. See if a better plot idea strikes me. It always does and I write an alternative direction for the story or a particular character. After that, I can continue on.
10. Whom do you trust for objective and constructive criticism of your work?
I have a few beta readers, they are all good but one, my daughter, never pulls her punches. She offers constructive criticism along with helpful suggestions. Plus, she is a stickler for proper grammar and word usage, I love that. So many times when a writer is immersed in a story we lose sight of these things and need reminding.