A Little About You……….
I’m a married mother of two boys, one of whom is on the Autism spectrum. Originally from Kansas, I grew up mainly in the Boston, MA, and Cleveland, OH, areas. I have a rather diverse background — one side of the family is made up of teetotalers and ministers, and the other is made up of bootleggers and miners. Although I spent many years working as a paralegal, I left the legal profession to stay home and address the special needs of my children. This has left me time to pursue my writing and to allow our three cats more lap time. I also serve as head editor for Renaissance Romance Publishing, an independent publisher of romantic fiction.
A Little About Your Writing……….
I have always loved writing, but did not attempt to do it professionally for many years. The head of the English department in my college warned me against expecting I’d be able to pay the bills that way, and the market for professors of British Renaissance literature was flooded. I now write romance novels, although each has its own unique flavor. I enjoy incorporating historical, mystery, paranormal, humor, and science fiction elements into my stories so that the romantic aspect is not the sole focus of the book.
What Inspired You To Start Writing?
I made up stories from a very young age, drawing picture books at first until I learned to write. When I was about ten years old, I met Madeleine L’Engle at Chautauqua Institution. She gave a lecture that inspired me tremendously, and when I spoke with her afterward, I was completely captivated. She was the first person to really inspire me to consider writing as a profession, and for the rest of my life, I never lost sight of that aspiration.
How Has Writing Changed Your Life?
It’s hard to say how my life would be different if I didn’t write. Writing is an established facet of my life, so it’s difficult to separate it. I know that I would not have met many of the wonderful friends that I’ve made in the writing community, for whom I’m daily thankful. Also, I find that writing gives me an outlet when so few of the people around me seem to understand the way I see the world. It has always helped me to express abstract ideas, and I love that it gives me a venue in which to say whatever occurs to me, regardless of whether they would be socially acceptable in real life.
What Is Your Favourite Book, Ever?
I enjoy cozy murder mysteries, so I love the classic writers like Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, and Dorothy Sayers. I also love Jane Austen for her witty and sometimes cynical view of her world. Shakespeare, of course, is phenomenal, and I have always enjoyed the complex allegorical themes of The Faerie Queene. If I had to pick just one book, though, I think I would have to say Aemelia Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum. It’s a fantastic reworking of church dogma that gently but unapologetically turns the biblical justification for female subjugation on its ear. Published at the beginning of the 15th Century, it’s not a book for everyone, but I enjoy it tremendously.
What Is The Best Piece Of Writing Advice You Could Give, And Why?
Learn about your craft. Too many writers think that having the idea and writing it down is all that is required. As an editor, I have found that while grammar and punctuation errors are corrected rather painlessly, the biggest problem that my “victims” encounter is style issues. More writers need to educate themselves on how to craft their stories. Pacing, structure, and character development are not given nearly as much attention as they require. All accountants have had to learn maths; all lawyers have had to learn law; all doctors have had to learn medicine. If you want writing to be your profession, you must learn it. Stephen King and Annie Dillard have produced excellent books on writing, and there are many other resources available. Educate yourself and keep learning more.
If You Were A Dragon, What Kind Of Dragon Would You Be?
In the Chronicles of Narnia, Eustace is turned into a dragon. He’s lonely because no one understands him and in pain because of the bracelet that is digging into his arm. Eustace reacts to this rather painful experience by helping the others. Becoming a dragon teaches him to be a better person and has a profound impact on the person he becomes. I always related to that dragon. The scene in which he ruthlessly sheds his skin always struck me as a vivid and apt description of the experience of overcoming a hurdle in life that requires a person to change in a fundamental but positive way.
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