Wednesday, November 04, 2009
As a starting point, I tend to imagine myself in a certain situation - pose that “what if” question – and imagine how I’d respond to the pressure, the problem, then ultimately seek out a resolution. When I first started writing, I’m sure I was the heroine of every tale! But now, I am attempting to branch out more – in fact, many things I’m working on at present are starting from the hero’s point of view. One thing is for sure – my characters all have my same core of beliefs – or will, by the end of their journey.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
What a funny question! I’d say, if you mean – quirky interesting – I would tell you that I graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Anthropology/Archaeology – and worked across Arizona and part of New Mexico studying prehistoric and historic people. Thus – my love of the west. However, it wasn’t as glamorous as it sounds! I spent 6 months living in a trailer on the outskirts of a postage stamp of a town in eastern Arizona! Some of my fondest memories are of that extended survey…
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
As a child, my mom always helped me transcribe my stories. As a kid in school, I loved our journaling class. Most kids loathed it, but I still remember the green notebook where I kept all of my innermost thoughts, and the thrill of seeing the A+s on the page! Now, not all teachers were that generous as I went along, but I’ll never forget that. I still have a trunk full of my early writing – someday, I’ll share it with my daughters… but every word helped me learn the art of storytelling.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love all genres – I’ll plop down with a historical fiction, romance, a sci-fi adventure, paranormal, thriller, and of course westerns! Every book is unexplored territory.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Who said I was sane? Seriously, I belong to several groups of like-minded writers and we’re all in similar life situations. Women who write, have families, are trying to find balance. I also have a new-year’s resolution to say “no” whenever prudent. (This is a BIG one for me, who never wants to turn ANYTHING down.) It seems to be working so far! Time will tell.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I start with a theme, and choose names for the hero and heroine that are appropriate. For example, All or Nothing is loosely tied to the Book of Ruth – so, the main character became “RuthAnne” and her love interest – a strapping cavalry soldier named “Bowen Shepherd.” All other characters just either jump up, fully named or – if I’m stuck, my husband’s a pro at naming people. Usually, he just makes me laugh, but his names always find their way into my stories somehow.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My two daughters – at 5 & 3 ½ - they’re 19 months apart and full of energy. Seeing them turn into sweet, thoughtful kids – that is the joy of my heart. The novel is quite a thrill, also, and finding a publisher who believes in me doesn’t hurt!
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Oh, that’s easy. I’m a desert girl – so you can call me “Packrat.” I save EVERYTHING.
What is your favorite food?
A desert girl who loves sushi? Interesting. Tell us a little about your journey to publication.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Was and still is – finding the time to write. Really write. Not edit, not do promotion. It takes dedication – sitting down whether you feel like it or not. Pushing through the rough spots until you’re in the groove and words flow like water. Whenever I start a new project, I pledge myself three pages a day. If I can just get through three pages a day, I have a short story within two months. A novel within four. And usually less, because if the words are flowing, I’ll write fifteen. If I’m in a lull, I’ll eke through those three, but I’m always moving forward.
I think what you're calling short story is actually a novella. They're totally different things. What advice would you give to others who are trying to get their first book published?
Join a critique group of like minded folks. Find writers – not just friends who’ll praise you for your eloquence. Learn your craft. Have someone you can trust to call you on those POV slips, or the use of passive voice! You’ll never be sorry. Learn the rules of writing, practice, and share your pages.
Tell us about the featured book?
A young widow starting over nearly dies on the perilous, winding road to Tucson, Arizona, in 1876.
An accident turns out to be a cover-up for a heinous crime at the hand of a murderous bandit. Robbed and left for dead, all that remains for RuthAnne Newcomb is her faith, and the talents God gave her. She needs both to endure the handsome, vengeful cavalry captain who saved her life.
Captain Bowen Shepherd offers aid in exchange for information leading to the criminal’s capture. El Tejano, as the bandit is known, is bound to strike again and RuthAnne is the only living witness to his crimes. Left with nothing but her savvy and unwavering faith, RuthAnne is forced to return to the scene and help with the intolerable soldier’s quest.
Already, the criminal is after the lone witness who can destroy him. Bowen and RuthAnne must risk everything to unmask the bandit once and for all, before he can strike again at the one who cost him the most. Will their newfound love, or their lives, be the cost of bringing a murderer to justice?
Please give us the first page of the book.
“Easy! Steady!” Their driver hollered at the horses from up above. There was nothing easy or steady about the twisty pass over the rugged mountain or the sheer drop into the jagged canyon below. Suddenly, at the bend, the road vanished into a wall of tumbling boulders and clouds of dust.
Wind whipped RuthAnne’s honey-blonde hair into her eyes and stung her cheeks, burned from exposure to the desert sun. Fear gripped her heart as she stared ahead in disbelief. Debris buried the road by half. Rocks and pebbles flowed down the mountainside in an insane torrent that rained onto the carriage roof and pelted her forehead through the open window. Her quick touch yielded fingertips flecked with blood.
That beginning really grabs a reader. How can the readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Ashley, for spending this time with us.
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