Category Archives: Novels

Ask the Author

When did you start writing books?

In November 2010, I joined the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrimo) challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel in one month. My first book was a pseudo-autobiographical preteen novel with a great lesson about accepting others and fitting in. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to come up with a suitable title. The original title involved the Fab Four, referring to the four friends in the book. You can tell the Beatles craze was a bit before my time as it took me a while to realize where I’d picked up that name!

What is your writing routine?

Since then, I’ve been hooked on writing. I try to make progress each day. I learn by reading good writing; studying about writing and publishing; and, of course, writing, researching, and revising. My writing technique varies. NaNoWrimo encourages writers to “turn off your inner editor” and just get out the first draft, then revise. This has helped me overcome my perfectionist tendencies to edit as I go. It has also allowed unexpected twists to come out as I write, since the characters start saying and doing things that even I do not expect.

After typing up each draft on my laptop, I print it out and make edits. It’s amazing what I can catch in print that I overlooked on the screen. I like to have others read printed copies and give me feedback. Then I go back to the drawing board—many, many times. I have discovered that I write quickly and edit slowly. I am constantly seeking to improve my craft and feel I will pursue this for the rest of my life.

What are you working on now?

In addition to polishing Missing You, Finding Me, I have several other novels waiting for final edits. Vicariously Yours involves an aspiring travel writer whose twin sister takes on her identity following a car accident—which becomes complicated when she falls in love with her editor through their correspondence. Facing Reality is the story of a young woman searching for her identity who risks losing herself in reality show fame. In The House on Depot Hill, a woman from the 1800’s reveals the truth behind her tragic past with the help of a modern day woman who is restoring her Victorian house. I hope to have several of these ready for publication by 2016.

 

Novel Q & A

Where did you get the idea for Missing You, Finding Me?

My husband and I have been married for 25 years and during that time I have seen how easy it can be to get out of sync with your partner simply from lack of communication. For my novel Missing You, Finding Me, I wanted to take this idea to the nth degree—to illustrate would happen if lack of communication drove a couple to live separate lives. I experimented with writing from different points of few, finally deciding to tell the story alternately from the first person POV of each spouse. It was important to me to show the reader that both characters are good people, even as they each make choices that make them look guilty in their partner’s eyes.

How did you come up with your main character and the challenges she faces?

Having spent most of my married life as a homemaker and homeschool mom, dependent on my husband’s income, I often wondered what I would do if something happened to him or to his job. I made my main character a homeschool mom, too, so her husband’s disappearance would have the greatest possible impact on her life.

What do you consider to be the central questions driving the novel?

As I took my main character through the steps to make a new life, including pursuing a career she’d given up when she’d married and had kids, I found myself wrestling with these central questions:

  • What if the “perfect” life she’d been living turned out to be different from the life she truly wanted?
  • What path would she choose if she had the opportunity to return to her old life once she’d established a new life on her own?

What kind of research did you do for the novel?

My primary research for this book involved touring the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in St. Helena, CA and accompanying my husband as he attended a bread-baking boot camp. This, plus reading online accounts from participants, inspired the experience my main character has in the book. My high school French classes and two trips to France provided inspiration as well. I also had to do online research about legal aspects of insider trading, divorce and child custody in California.