Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?
The author who inspired me to become a writer was Phyllis A. Whitney. When I was in my late teens/early twenties I looked forward to everybook she wrote. I’ve read them all and even though she passed away long ago, I have managed to find them in indie book shops so I can collect my favorites. Her amazing storytelling skills started me on my writing journey. From there a friend introduced me to Debbie Macomber’s books and she is one of myfavorite authors today. I would love to be as prolific as she is.
Do you participate in writing challenges on social media? Do you recommend any?
Years ago I belonged to a chapter of a writing group that held a BIAW (book in a week) challenge annually. I loved setting a word goal and hitting that target. I also participate in NaNoWriMo every year since I found them in 2003. I actually made my NaNo goal this year The Christmas Sugar Bowl which just released on November 17 of this year.Q:
Does writing energize or exhaust you? Or both?
When I’m in the throes of writing, it energizes me. I am usually so caught up in my story world and my characters’ lives that I am very excited. I usually write nonstop every day when I’m on a deadline because for me if I leave that story world for an entire day I lose my momentum. However, once the book is complete I am usually exhausted mentally and need a week or so to recover before doing anything else.
Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?
I have recently adopted a new cat, Honeydew, after losing two senior cats last summer. I wanted my other cat, Tucker, to have company. While Tucker is used to my writing hours, Honeydew is still adjusting. She’s the first cat I’ve had that is very vocal and she loves to sit and meow at my feet, which can interrupt my train of thought. Toward the end of this recent release I actually had to ban her from the office in order to make my deadline but I love having pets in my office when I write.
Have you used an app to borrow ebooks or audiobooks from the library?
I visit my local library every week. I am a huge supporter of the public library and hope everyone realizes how valuable they are to our communities. However, I don’t borrow ebooks or audiobooks. I truly love browsing the stacks and bringing home hardcover or paperback books. I usually bring home more than I can finish with everything else I have going on but I love finding a new author or book through my library.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I have to admit that sometimes I struggle to come up with a good title for my books. However, when it came to The Christmas Sugar Bowl it was easy. The book centers around the main character, Nora Addams, searching for the missing sugar bowl to her grandmother’s Christmas china. It just seemed to fit perfectly and my publisher came up with an equally perfect cover. Otherwise, I do have to spend some time brainstorming when it comes to titles.
How do you come up with character names for your stories?
I think of myself as an intuitive writer. When I come up with the character in my mind it’s as if the name just pops up after I get the idea for the character’s struggle/goal. I do keep a log of all the characters from all of my books as I don’t like to use the same name twice. Naming characters is one of my favorite parts of writing.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I am a pantser in that I don’t do a very detailed and lengthy book outline. Once I have the idea and the characters, the story just plays out in my mind. In that way I think I’m also a visual writer as I usually can see the story in my mind much like a movie. However, I keep a novel notebook for every book I write and in that I do write down information about each character, setting, dates, days of the week . I also flesh out a paragraph or two of what happens in each chapter so I can see if the book is flowing and there is continuity overall in the story.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I wrote The Christmas Sugar Bowl for the annual NaNoWriMo challenge so I knew at best I had 30 days to write and finish this book. Since it’s a novella of about twenty-five thousand words, I also knew I could finish ahead of the deadline. Because I write seven days a week, it took me a total of 17 days to write the first draft. From there I wrote a second draft and a finished version.
That is the version that goes to my editor.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
In my newsletter I called The Christmas Sugar Bowl “Lucky 13” as it is my thirteenth published book. When I’m writing I’m often far from a fan of my books. I’m a perfectionist so I’m hard onmyself and have high expectations. If I had to pick a favorite it would be hard since I end up loving my characters so much. The Christmas Coin, which was released in 2018, was dear tomy heart as the coin in the story was based on a collector’s coin my grandparents gave my parents for Christmas in 1967. But if I had to pick a favorite I would choose The Christmas Sugar Bowlas it was such a joy to write and readers are esponding positively already.
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