- Does writing energize or exhaust you?
That definitely depends on what I’m writing. Some scenes flow so easily onto the paper with very little effort. My imagination sees the pictures, hears the voices, and obeys. Other times it can be emotionally harrowing. It can take me days to get over the death of a beloved character, even though I made the decision to kill her off.
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
Handling my own nature is the hard part for me. I tend to be very distractible and moderately obsessive. There is always that one more piece of research, a new book to read, and, Oh Look! I got a facebook mention. My mind will bounce to anything new and shiny and sometimes when it lands on a topic I find it hard to let go and get back to the writing. There is a definite benefit to this type of mind though, once I start writing and the scenes are flying, I will keep going until someone pulls me out.
- Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I actually do write under a synonym. I work in the legal profession and was advised that it might be better not to use my real name for security purposes.
- What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have been so lucky! Two of the first people I met when I started to write were Rebekah Raymond and J.J. Reichenbach, they, along with several others convinced me that my ‘baboon crap’ was worth the effort and helped me get started learning the craft of writing.
- Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
My original plan was three standalone books in the same world. But the story doesn’t seem to be working out that way. It looks like being a three-book series.
- What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
In the beginning I’d say joining the Alexandra Writers Centre Society, a local writers group that runs classes on everything from writing technique, to plotting, to poetry. Once my book was underway, I hired a good editor whose knowledge of her craft and determination to present my work at its best is the reason Y’keta is a polished, professional read.
- What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
When I was little, we had a burgundy set of children’s encyclopaedia’s and I would put on performances in the living room and insist that my family listen to the stories and legends that I read. I grew up on the stories of Robin Hood, King Arthur, and the Fae. What else could I ever be?
I love the authors who can make words dance and sentences MEAN things. This has led me to authors like Guy Gavriel Kay, and Don Dellilo. I would give my left ovary (not so dramatic a thing since at 55 those parts are hardly crucial) to sit down with either of these gentlemen, or even better their writing notes, for an afternoon!
- What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
That’s a hard question, there are so many good novels that go just under the popular radar. For me M.K. Wren’s Sword of the Lamb is a definite favourite. How will a government that has spanned centuries react when faced with political and social unrest? How does this affect the people born to a world that has never changed? If you enjoyed Asimov’s foundation series, you will probably like this one.
- As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Oh fun! I think I would take a raven as my spirit animal. They are known for being wise birds but also for having a sense of fun and mischief.
- How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Eeep. Do I have to admit it? At least eight, there is just not enough time!
- What does literary success look like to you?
For me its all about the reader’s reaction. Yes, the sales are great (PLEASE – buy the books), but if one person says to me that my words opened their eyes to a bigger world, or that I showed them the power of words and the beauty that they can bring, then I’m a success.
- What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I originally didn’t think that I was researching to write a book when I started out to write Y’keta. About five years ago, my husband found out that he was part Cree. At that time, I went back to the indigenous legends I’d learned growing up in Northern Alberta as a way to teach my son the history and culture that my husband never learned. For more than four years I studied the language and history of several different indigenous cultures.
- How many hours a day/week do you write?
When the words are flowing I write two to three hours a day. When things aren’t so easy and I’m struggling with a scene or a plot point it’s harder, but I try to keep to writing something every day. Whether poetry, or as part of my ongoing books.
- How do you select the names of your characters?
I try to find names that will work within the cultures of the story taking into consideration the ‘hardness’ or ‘softness’ of certain sounds and whether they match the character. In Y’keta, I borrowed the name of a traveller that my friend met in Ontario (Y’keta) and adjusted the name of my cousin, Sian.
- What was your hardest scene to write?
In my work-in-progress, D’vhan, there is a scene where a young child dies. Writing it was emotionally crippling and took me to some very dark areas of my past. It was a necessary part of the story, but very very hard.
- Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I write fantasy because the words are my way of exploring a world I can’t see. I’m a mythmaker, there is nothing that gives me more creative juice than asking a question and then building a world to find the answer. Myths and fantasy give us the opportunity to look at ourselves in new and often unusual ways, to play a huge game of ‘what if’ and see where the answers will fall. I find the basic understanding is the same when I’m working on romance books, except that you are now playing what if with relationships and feelings.
- How long have you been writing?
According to my mum I have always written stories and poems. I wrote my first ‘official’ poem in Grade four and had my first work published in a school magazine in 1977.
- What inspires you?
There are so many people that inspire me, whether they are historical figures or literary ones. I think the common thread in all of them is that they had the opportunity to quit, every reason to say I’m too old, too tired, it’s just easier to let it be someone else’s problem. This kind of hero, unwilling, often flawed, yet willing to step up, gets me every time.
- How do you find or make time to write?
Finding time to write is an ongoing issue for me. I have started to take myself on writing dates, the people at the local Starbucks know my name and how I want my coffee, they don’t ask anymore. I also have a great group of writer friends that hold sleepovers now and then. Much laughter, much wine, and many words have come from these weekends.
- What projects are you working on at the present?
I’ve got three projects on the go at the moment, with a never empty folder of ideas on the backburner.
The next book in the Sky Road Trilogy, D’vhan, is in the ‘necklace’ stage of drafting. I’ve got several pearls but I’m missing the chain of story movement that will tie them together.
I am working on a romance that will be part of an upcoming series of novellas with my contribution, Peace Out, slated for May 2018.
There is also a chapbook of poetry in the works, although at the moment the prose has centre stage.
Romance novella, Peace Out releases on May 4th. Video.
- What do your plans for future projects include?
I am plotting a YA Fantasy based on a world where the center of the earth is molten magic and drilling is creating imbalance and magic quakes – Geomages! I’ve also got poetry,plans for a darker themed adult fantasy about a dying world that even the gods have abandoned, two other romance novels and a space opera. So much to do! It’s going to be fun.
- Share a link to your author website.
Website: http://www.delusionsof literacy.com
May 13, 2018 at 11:50 am
Excellent interview! My compliments!
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May 12, 2018 at 9:02 pm
Thank you so much for having me on your blog Mandy! It’s great to meet so many people who love the writing world as much as I do.
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May 13, 2018 at 6:57 am
It was my pleasure. Connecting with other writers is one of my favorite things.