Falcor, Harley and Orion wanted me to get the most important question out of the way first…Do you have any “Literary Cats” or Literary Pup?
I have a calico cat, Carmen. She reminds me of my older sister who passed away. Always watching and maybe she disapproves but she doesn’t interfere. She just has that look on her face like she’s tolerating me and letting me find my own way. Carmen is the best cat ever. Neat, quiet, and cuddly.
Dingle, who is a cat character in my books, was actually my cat. He died a few years ago. That’s when I started writing. He lives on now, with his wink and his naughty attitude. A comic, that cat knew how to get a laugh out of everyone.
What inspired you to write the Kiowa in Love series? This is a long answer... I didn’t start out to write romance. I wanted to write about how life’s experiences change us. Why do people act the way they do? Why do they think that way? For years I’ve wanted to write Grandfather’s story. Benjamin NoName is a hodge-podge of my family members and their experiences all wrapped into one person. Raised in an orphange, he didn’t know who his family was. He spent his whole life wondering if they were searching for him. Perhaps, they were dead and he just couldn’t remember? His story would take a depth that I didn’t know how to show. Then, he told me, why write the beginning? Write me near the end. I want grandbabies.
What was the hardest thing about writing it? Keeping the plot lines as untangled as possible but writing about three women who grew up together. Have you ever seen a detective show where the policeman asks three people setting near each other what happened and they all have different answers? That’s how I envisioned my stories. Wrapped around a central core, each girl experiences something different.
What was the easiest? Insomnia brings out the really bad jokes in me. RedDress Two Wives was written during a very sleep deprived time. For that one, I was in Gatlinburg, and decided to visit a... naughty shop. I couldn’t help thinking, if I bought one, what if I died? Who would find that? What worse case scenario would happen? So... the rest is history.
What has been your reaction to the reviews you have gotten so far for the series? I’m always happy to receive a review. I learn from them. I had a problem with my first manuscript... insomnia and the wrong file converged to make a nightmare for me. But, without the reviews, I would have never known there was a problem. The reviews since then have been positive and that always makes me happy. The more feedback, the more confidence I get in my writing. You never know if someone enjoys your writing unless they say so.
Do you currently have anything in the works? Lots! I have ‘The Spirit Key’, it is a rewrite of Painted Girl but with RedHorse as the main character. We go into the war and cover his injury. I think it will be one of my best and it will be published soon. It’s in the final beta read stages. Grandfather’s time in the orphanage is almost finished. Somehow, it turned into a scary story of skinwalkers. I also have “A stiff one for Nona”, and the stiff one is Nona’s dead husband. Grandfather can see the ghost but doesn’t tell her. The spirit causes trouble in their romance. I thought Grandfather deserved love after so many years alone. He’s not so sure. Then there is the newest Bowman’s Inn piece for the Fall Anthology. We’ll go back to Han and Ann as they fall in love in this time.
Did you publish anything prior to Little Sparrow? Yep! Genealogy reference books under my married name. I took technical and research writing in college. I wish now that I had started with creative writing. I’m a history lover at heart.
Do the characters write the story? Ha! Yes. Generally it is Grandfather. I hear his voice all the time! He wakes me up often, too. Dingle sometimes sticks his nose in there.
Where do you see the story progressing in the future? It’s going more paranormal with the Spirit Key. Outside forces that prod us along and scary ghosts that want something from Grandfather.
What do you think makes your series different from the other series in the romance genre? There isn’t much written about contemporary Native Americans. Most is historical. I want to tell the story of fitting in but accepting that you are different and what makes a person unique. Especially in RedDress, I wanted to tell the story of just how far a girl will go when in the depths of self-doubt.
When did your love of books/writing develop? I’ve been a reader since I can remember. I’ll read anything. I was lucky enough that my best friend owned a bookstore. I think I tore through most of it! I didn’t start writing until a few years ago though. My husband was like, why don’t you just write your own? I never want a good story to end once I love the characters so that’s why I keep writing about the same family. Until readers say... no! I’ll keep writing.
What are some of the ways that you manage writer’s block? Imagine the scene as the character. If it isn’t working, then you’re forcing the character to do something she doesn’t want to. In my latest story, everyone kept asking for a character to do something. He refused. I couldn’t write the scene, so he suggested something better and my critters were happy.
How have you been able to handle rejection as a writer? The rejection I’ve gotten so far has been constructive. As long as you can tell me what isn’t hitting the mark, I can work on that.
What are some of your ambitions and goals as a writer? Ambitions? I’d like to be a USA Today Best Selling Author. Goals. To write a lot more books! It’s not as easy as it sounds.
What is your go to feel good book? Your guilty pleasure book? Honestly, I don’t have one. I really love Scribophile.com, it is a community of aspiring writers. When I need a pick me up, I read other stories. There are so many wonderful writers out there.
What is a book you always recommend to other people? It depends on the person, actually. There are books I wouldn’t recommend to my dad, or my sister-in-law, but would to my best friend. Good mysteries are always safe and the classics never disappoint readers. I just reread ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’.
If you could meet any author, who would it be? If I point to Edgar Allen Poe, would that mean I’d have to die first? Scratch that and Plato, too! Can you imagine sitting down with the authors of ‘The Republic’, ‘Dante’s Inferno’, ‘Frankenstein’ or my favorite ‘The Iliad’? The insight into history from some of the best classics ever written?
Who has been some of your biggest inspirations? My dad. He wrote three books but never published them. He has published a book of poems though. I have his manuscripts and at some point I’ll publish those for him. He’s a wonderful father.
I also have to say Dingle. His death put me in a bad place. I wrote to relieve the pain. Now, he’s being the antagonist I know he’d love.
What advice would you give young writers looking to begin somewhere? I would join a writing group, either Scribophile.com or something else. I didn’t know these existed when I published Little Sparrow. The feedback is great and you meet some wonderful writers. Crits help you focus and you can gauge engagement, flow, style, and plot. These can be hard when you do it alone.
I would begin with an idea and write. The hardest part of writing to me is finishing. Know your ending. The best part is the journey getting there. If you have the ending and the beginning, you’ll get there.How can your readers discover more about you and your work? I have a blog, https://wordpress.com/post/rawinterwriter.wordpress.com I’ve posted deleted chapters of a few of my books. They were ones that I just couldn’t get rid of, but critters thought the book was too long. My characters weren’t happy about it! So, I posted them for anyone who’d like more