Saturday 17 December 2011


Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?

Yes, indeed -- there is a new book in the works, and it's the sequel to Between Seasons. There are a few things that aren't completely wrapped up by the end of Between Seasons. The second novel, as of yet unnamed, follows the continuing adventures of Patrick and Sara, along with Patrick's old girlfriend Ginny and a new friend. The second novel is a bit more of a mystery than the first, but it will still contain the very sweet romantic element. It's currently in the outlining stages, so it'll be a few months yet before it's available.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?

Between Seasons was inspired by my own ghost. Well, not mine, per se, but the one who lives in my house. My husband and I bought the house about ten years ago, and a few weeks after we moved in, the figure of a tall, dark-haired man appeared on the landing to the second floor. Just as quickly as he appeared, he was gone. And that's how it goes -- all he does is occassionally pop up on the landing, almost like he's checking in. How can you not wonder about what his life was like? Or what his afterlife is like? Or if I'm just a crazy loon? While Patrick doesn't look too similar to my ghost, the idea for the plot grew out of the man on my stairs.

Other ideas pop into my head -- usually when I'm driving or in the shower, for some reason. I have a giant list of plot ideas, so I suspect I'll continue to write for a while!

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?

Yes. No writer can objectively edit and evaluate their own work -- we're too close to it. So to make sure I'm not putting out absolute crap, I stick to a rigorous feedback loop. My chapters first go to four people who are writers and great editors; they tear my work apart, and then I revise based on their notes. When I'm happy with the end product, it goes to my critique partner, a retired English professor and excellent writer. He does the same thing -- tears my work apart. When I've revised, revised, revised, it goes for final proofreading. And before the official release, I like to get reader opinions, so another five to ten people give it a read to let me know how they feel about the work. It's not so much about reviews as making sure it's good.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?

I know ebooks are all the rage, but I still prefer paperbacks. I won't lie -- I have an iPad, and I've downloaded a few books to it, but I rarely read on it (unless I'm traveling). It's the physical book itself that I like...the smell of the pages, the sound of the spine cracking. Plus, when done right a physical book can be a real art object. Coffeehouse Press, for instance, consistently puts out really interesting-looking novels. I recently finished German for Travelers by Norah Labiner, which has great frayed page edges. It's beautiful. I've always thought it might be fun to put out a special version of one of my books -- something with handsewn signatures and a handmade cover (one of my hobbies is book binding and making art journals).

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

Just write. That's pretty much it. I've been writing short stories since I learned how to write, but I never thought I could write a novel. I'd start and then lose interest when I thought it started to drag. The key is just to keep writing and keep writing, plowing through the parts that seem terrible. Eventually you'll finish, and then you can go back and revise the parts that aren't fantastic. 

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