When did you first have a desire to write?
Iíve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. I found it strange to realize that most other people donít have made up characters talking in their heads.
Do you have a set time to write each day? Or do you wait to be inspired?
If I waited to be inspired, Iíd be lucky to have one book written! I find the mornings my most productive time, so I write for as long as I can after I drop my kids at the bus, and strive meet my daily word goal. I seem to run out of creative gas in the afternoon, so I spend that on administrative tasks, errands, houseworkÖand the occasional game of spider solitaire. I sometimes get a second wind in the evening. When that happens Iíll try to catch up on my word count if Iím running behind or get a bit ahead for the next day.
Do you ever become bored with what you are writing? If you do, how do you get past that point?
Not necessarily bored, but some stories are harder to write than others. When youíve signed a contract, you need to get them written anyway and give it your best because you owe your readers nothing less. I wrote a whole long article about remedies for writerís block, and Iíve used most of them at one time or another. Doing more research often fires my imagination. Or watching a film or two with the actor Iíve mentally cast as my hero. Sometimes when I get stalled, itís my writerís instincts trying to tell me my story has veered off-course and I need to find a way to get it back on track.
Are you successful enough to write full time?
Iíve been fortunate to be able to write full time because my husband has a good job, so my earnings are a second income. If I had been trying to support my family, there were some years I could have, but others I would have been better off going back to teachingÖor getting a job as a supermarket cashier.
What is your favorite genre in which to write?
My heart belongs to the past. Iíve written historical romance, inspirational historicals, a historical mystery (unpublished), historical fiction and fantasy with a historical-type of setting. I tried writing contemporary and the result wasnít pretty. :(
What kind of books do you like to read?
Again, mostly historicals of various genres, as well as historical non-fiction. But I do read some contemporary romance, mystery, and fantasy which I also enjoy.
How do you manage to balance your time between family, friends, and writing?
Itís been a constant adjustment, especially since my two youngest children have special needs. I would never want to put my writing ahead of my family all the time, but they understand that sometimes (like when a deadline is looming) I may need to focus on my book to the exclusion of other things.
If you could spend one hour with just one person, dead or alive, whom would you choose? Why?
There are many famous people whose company would tempt me (a number of whom appear in Confessions of a Courtesan), but I would rather have that one hour with my late grandfather because I loved him so much and still miss him.
Do you have any advice for writers who are striving to be published?
Lots! I have a whole page of articles on my website. :) One of my most often repeated pieces of advice is: Donít be afraid to make a mess! Donít feel you have to learn everything there is to know about writing before you even begin. Jump in and write with passion, learning as you go and as you revise.