- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Fifteen years ago, I experienced an out of body event. Not my first, but that one shook me to my core. I started to write about it hoping the effort would quiet the recurring memory. It didn’t. Ten pages soon became fifty. Then two hundred. Then it occurred to me that I was writing a novel.
- How long does it take you to write a book?
Until it’s perfect. That could mean a week, or years.
- What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
What? There’s supposed to be a schedule. No one told me about that. The fact is, I can skip meals, sleep, even dental appointments when my creative gene is fired up and on a roll. However, I never miss dress shopping or having lunch with friends.
- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have conversations with my characters – and they answer. When I’m deep in the writing zone, I can feel their presence. Yes, it is odd. I still have control over the story, but it flows so much more smoother if I allow their voice, their passion to blend in with developing the structure of the story. Symbiosis comes to mind.
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I’ve spent a lot time wondering the same thing. Sometimes I wonder if God has inspired me to write. Or, maybe the characters are real entities in another dimension who beckon me to tell their story. The one thing I do know. It’s magical.
- When did you write your first book and how old were you?
You’d have to swear to secrecy. Too old, LOL.
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
It would be easier to list what I don’t do. I love adventure, to be challenged physically, mentally and spiritually. I study Shamanism. I’ve won awards for my needlework. Watercolor painting has become my latest challenge. I’ve raced snowmobiles and have many trophies. My husband and I travelled the world and rafted down the Shotover River in New Zealand. I’m most at peace when sitting in silence in my Rocky Mountains, Jasper, Alberta
- What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned that I write better if I shut off my ego and let the characters tell the story.
- How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I started writing my first, The Guardian’s Wildchild, in 2000. It was not my intent to publish it. Then my dear husband, and very critical reader, said it was good. I took a couple of years off to learn how to write. In 2011, Omnific Publishing bought the rights. I still love that novel. I thought I could get my life back after that. Within two months after TGW was on Amazon, Forbidden became an obsession. It’s my finest work, so far.
- Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
There is no simple answer unless you were born under the ‘writer’s gift’ star. Write as much as possible, even if it’s just to please yourself. It’s like a muscle. The more you use it, then inspirations, visions, wording and phrases will begin to follow you throughout the day and in your dreams. You’ll begin to recognize what pieces add to the story and what is just useless fluff. You may love the fluff, but if it doesn’t move the story forward, it’s garbage.
Be prepared to receive criticism. Take classes in a group setting (it’s amazing how much you learn from each other). Join a writer’s group (on line and in the flesh). The writer’s group I highly recommend is IWSG – Insecure Writers Support Group.
Writing a novel is the hardest work I’ve done. I’ve worked as a paramedic which required me to be brave, strong, controlled, resourceful, intelligent, compassionate, and know when to tell a biker to “F off.” But writing has been ten times harder.
The best advice I can give is this. “Never friggin give up!”
- Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
One of the best reviews I received for The Guardian’s Wildchild stated, “You took me to a place I’ve never been before.” I floated about for days. The reviews for Forbidden have been ‘over the moon’ amazing. I’m so thrilled when a reader loves my books. Here is the most recent review of Forbidden.
ByVicki Goodwinon June 8, 2017
What a thrill a minute ride this book takes you on. The characters are futuristic and totally awesome. I loved that times had allowed for more freedom for women. I kept following the story and each time I would think it was getting to the conclusion I drew, it would slam-bang me into another direction.
The love story part was really well told and I was happy with the relationship of these two different people. I found this to be a creative and unique storyline that kept me intrigued and on pins and needles.
- What do you think makes a good story?
Fascinating characters are a must – all of them. Even unforgettable. You must learn what makes a character breathe down a reader’s neck. They can carry a bad plot, even poor editing. If the reader falls in love with the hero / heroine, you’re half way to a best seller. My advice is to following instructions from Writers Helping Writers.
- As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to escape the farm. My father worked from sun up to past sun down 365 days a year. He loved it. I didn’t. It’s quite amusing to realize that as an author I work 365 days a year, all hours day and night. Fate has an odd sense of humor.
- What would you like my readers to know?
I want you to know that there is a story that hasn’t yet been written – but you must write it. Every one of you. The story? The characters are unique. The plot is full of twists and turns, ranging from glorious moments to struggles that defy belief. And the title on the cover is YOUR NAME.
Yes, it’s your autobiography. And the best part is there will be no muse directing the story and no editor telling you to delete, delete, delete. You are free from any writing rules or expectations.
Let me explain. Many years ago I began to study my ancestor’s history. Thanks to the internet I had access to records dating back hundreds of years. I became a voracious hunter of even the most minute details. Tracking my lineage was relatively easy. Dates of birth, marriage, death, and sometimes addresses and occupations helped define the lives and struggles of my distant relations. But, like an addict, I wanted more.
Then a wedding photograph of my Great Great Great Aunt in England flipped up on my screen. The thrill sent me on an all-consuming search for their story. I found a few letters.
Tears of rapture filled my eyes. My history began to take shape. My lineage, all that brought me to have my amazing life, formed a map outlining my DNA and probably more than I can conceive.
And yet, I wanted more. I wanted to know about their dreams, failures, defeats, passions. What mattered to each of them? Did they have regrets? What were their darkest thoughts? What brought them to their knees?
I suppose, at the time of managing their daily chores, they would not have thought of their life as not interesting. They wouldn’t have known that if their autobiography had surfaced, I would have fallen to my knees and blessed their bones. I would have cried their name and asked God to give them eternal peace. I would have wept.
This is why, my dear readers, you must write your story. Someone in the future will grasp your manuscript and know he/she has a treasure. If you are an author, write your autobiography. If you have not written anything, write your autobiography. Put it in safe keeping.
One more thing. After writing your autobiography you may awaken a passion that has, so far, remained silent. You may become a best-selling author.