About the Author
I am a flâneuse. What is that, you ask? The closest approximation: a female observer-wanderer. I write about, and illustrate (oils, pastels, digital) what I see that intrigues me. In a past life, with a now-dormant Ph.D., (University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana), and the primacy of my left brain, I researched, evaluated and developed mental health programs.
But writing was my first love and I wanted to be a journalist but my parents balked at that. I was 15, malleable, and dependent on them for support, so I compromised and went into the social sciences, actually preferable to chemistry, my parents’ choice.
What inspires you to write romance books?
To me, it is the best form of escapism, the best expression of hopefulness. Writing a novel for me just happened when one day, I put words in the service of coping with this crazy world we live in, interspersed with periods of working on art. Fiction gets you carried away and absorbed in this other world, probably more so while writing it than reading it.
Tell us about how you write:
I do have a writing schedule. After breakfast in bed I write or do related things until noon. Then, at night, after a movie, I get back to the same tasks until 2 am. It is still and quiet then except for classical music piped in from either Paris or Vienna—that is the magic of the internet for me. This is not a daily grind, but it happens quite a lot..
Writing is work. And I mean work. I should not have been surprised. Quite a lot of people think painting is something you just do on the side—a hobby. But both (writing and painting) are creative undertakings that require not only envisioning but planning, too, making both big and little decisions, and investing the mental equivalent of elbow grease. How big a canvas should I use? Or, should this story swirling in my head be a short story or an epic? How should I apply my brushstrokes, with a brush of a certain size or a palette knife? Or, what kind of viewpoint would make my story more intriguing? And how should I express the themes of the story? On and on. Many times, we may not be conscious that as we create, we are making decisions or even problem-solving.
Potentially, it can take me forever to write a book, if I follow my inherent tendencies. I am a hopeless tweaker. I always find things to change or fix.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters, particularly the main ones, become “real” people in my head when I’m writing a scene. I don’t talk to them but I hear them talking to each other. I imagine how they look when they talk or are gripped with emotions.
It’s important for me to know my characters intimately. When I get thoroughly acquainted with them, what they say in particular scenes can come out naturally.
What advice would you give other writers?
I always say writing is a personal journey. And it can qualify as an art, so follow your creative instincts. I know there are established tropes for romances but I think we can carry that too far. I once read a book where I noticed that “broad/wide shoulders/back” was coming up rather often. I did a word search and found a combination of these words more than 30 times. This in a traditionally -published book.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
The first fiction I wrote, I published—just because I could, rather easily—through amazon. For the second one, I sent a query to four romance presses, two of whom expressed interest and asked for the full manuscript. But both finally said my story does not meet their submission guidelines. One said they liked my voice and my storyline but some themes are apparently taboo. The other told me to try a mainstream press. Genre presses have formulas for themes and how stories are told. Mine did not fit either set of criteria so I self-publish.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
We’re seeing a boom in e-publishing. I think we haven’t realized its full potential yet. The internet is liberating us in all kinds of ways. New technology can make anyone a potential filmmaker, a potential performer, a potential writer, a potential artist, etc., etc.
But, printed books are here to stay for a long while yet. For some people, there is something special about the feel, the smell, and the look of a book in hand.
What genres do you write?
contemporary romance/women’s fiction, historical romance
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print