Today I’m sharing Part 1 of my interview with "You Gotta Read!" I answer a few background questions & share some writing advice…
Q. Where do you hail from? What do you love most about your hometown?
I was born in New Jersey, but I was raised in a small town in upstate New York. Voorheesville was very rural and there wasn’t a lot to do, so I became an avid reader at a young age. Our house was on the outskirts of town. We had a creek in the back yard, and my brother and I used to go wandering up into the mountains to explore. Living there helped fuel my imagination and inspired some of my short stories.
Q. How has your environment/ upbringing colored your writing?
Growing up in rural NY (in the woods, as I sometimes say) helped me understand small town life, and get a great respect for nature. When I want to tap into the horror side of my imagination, I think about how it was to grow up in an environment where houses were far apart, there were no streetlights, and you could drive into really creepy and desolate areas and not see any people. Most of my short horror fiction takes place in small towns (usually on or around Halloween). Autumn is my favorite season, and Halloween is my favorite holiday!
Q. How do you come up with the titles for your books?
Titles are tricky! Sometimes I’ll know the title before I start writing the story. That happened with several books: Four Days with Jack, Beauty & the Bigfoot, Trust with Hearts, and Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover. Other times, I won’t know the title until I’m almost ready to send the book out! Usually I’ll have a few ideas for a title, based on the characters, the setting, or theme, then I take a survey of my writing friends and family to see which one they like best. My husband has come up with a few great titles.
Q. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
No matter what genre they write, I’d advise new writers to take writing classes (either online or in person) and learn all you can about crafting a story. Telling a story is the main focus of being a writer. You have to be able to think of an idea and write/revise a good story before you can do anything else. Reading “how-to” writing magazines and joining critique groups are also excellent ways to learn techniques and get feedback from readers and/or other writers.
I get asked this question all the time, so wrote You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction.The book gives you practical advice on how to create a story, step-by-step: from getting a great idea to meeting your characters, developing a plot, and on to writing, revising, and submitting your work. It also includes fun writing exercises and tips all writers can use.
Q. Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Coming up with ideas for my stories is the fun part of writing. The challenging part is sitting down and doing the work that comes next: the revising, editing, and proofreading of a manuscript. That part of the process isn’t hard, it’s just not creative. You have to turn off the imagination part of your brain and get to work on the technical aspects of writing.
Q. When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun?
I enjoy traveling, gardening, reading, going to flea markets, hanging out with my husband, and visiting friends. I also like to explore creepy/haunted places.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts! I welcome questions and comments from readers, so feel free to drop me a line. Let me know which of my books is your favorite, and which characters you love best. I invite everyone to visit me on social media for book updates, excerpts, and more.
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