If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
I’d invite saintly people in hopes that some of their sanctity would rub off on me. Adam and Eve, Moses, King David, Benjamin, Mother Mary, Jesus, St. Peter, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Teresa of Avila would be there. So would Pope John Paul the Second. I have a potty mouth, so I’d have to watch my language. I’d also invite my parents, my grandparents, my Great Aunt Josie, Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln and Elvis Presley.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
The ideal answer would be to say that I exercise or volunteer at a soup kitchen, but that would be a lie. I eat, nap, read, talk on the phone, take a walk down the lane or watch television. Isn’t that what normal people do to relax?
Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?
No, because it’s too personal a thing. What’s relaxing for some will be stressful to others. I have a friend who cleans her house to relax. Looks like self-inflicted torture to me, but whatever floats your boat. Each person has to find his or her own way to decompress.
How often do you write? And when do you write?
I’m an opportunist. There’s no particular time schedule. I work it around other priorities like helping with homework, driving kids to after school activities, and my own obligations.
In reality, a lot of the ground work for my novels takes place before I ever sit down at the computer. As I’m driving, making dinner, and so on, new plots and scenes take shape in my head. When I start to type, half the story is already there. All I have to do is get it down on paper and fill in the blank spaces.
Once I’m at the computer, I have to be careful not to allow myself to become distracted. There are so many fun and interesting things to do on the internet. It’s too easy to fritter away the day on unproductive activities. YouTube is the devil’s workshop, LOL.
Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule?
I start out semi-organized. There’s a one or two page outline, which establish the major elements of the story: point of view, characters, plot, conflict and setting. I usually don’t stray very far from the major elements. Plot is another story. I try to follow the outline, but there comes a point where the characters eventually take it in unexpected directions. Ultimately, the end product is usually not what I originally envisioned. It usually takes me two or three drafts to lay down all of these essentials elements.
The next phase is a little easier. This is where the story is analyzed with the eye of an interior decorator. The framework (essential elements) are in place. The walls have already been painted, the rugs rolled out, the cabinets installed and the furniture is set in place. Now, it’s ready for the accents. Foreshadowing, themes, character traits, motivation, and dialogue are the pillows, curtains, artwork and quilts of the story. When they work together in harmony, the house will feel cohesive. If they are absent, or mismatched, the house will feel disjointed.
The final draft is where I ruthlessly gut my story, hacking away scenes that seemed important when I wrote them, but turned out to be dead ends to nowhere. If I neglect this phase, the story will drag. I like to read fast paced books, so I strive to write them that way as well. If a scene doesn’t move the plot forward, it’s in the way. Get rid of it. The process takes me months and months, sometimes years.
Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it - What keeps you going?
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
My goal is to entertain people. I invite readers to apply their own understanding of the characters and events as presented. If someone finishes one of my stories and it leaves them wanting to dive deeper into my fictional world, then I’ve accomplished my goal. I hope my words make them feel a wide range of emotions, no specific one stands out above the other.
After living in a posh underground shelter his entire life, Lars Steelsun is plunged headfirst into a mind-blowing adventure on the surface of the Earth. As Lars and his displaced bunker mates are led across the grasslands by Mayor Wakeland, a man of questionable sanity who claims to talk with God, they discover a primitive world where human beings are no longer welcome. Even more mystifying is the emergence of new senses and abilities from within.
Learning to use them has become a priority, but his biggest challenge comes from the vivacious Josie Albright. Her lust for glory is going to get them both into trouble. Sparks fly when her gung ho ways clash with his cautious personality. Can they overcome their differences to find love and a homeland for their people?
May not be suitable for younger readers.
Contains mild profanity, sexual situations (infrequent), and violence.
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Genre - Epic Fantasy
Rating – R
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