Interviewed by R. Murry. A Review of Groom and Doom is forth coming.
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I grew up in Minnesota and now live in South Florida. I’m a recovering English teacher, having taught for about fourteen years. Every minute I can get, I’m writing or doing research for my next project. I would love to read more. Finding symbolic or thematic meaning in a writer’s work is so much fun, which is one of the reasons I became an English teacher. Also, I’m very interested in psychology and how people think and act. Every day is a great lesson in character studies. I’m also very fascinated by the unexplained, whether that be the possibility of past lives or the paranormal. Ghosts, angels, demons, all interest me very much.
Do you remember the first story you wrote?
I’ve always been writing and creating things. As a child I would write my own greeting cards for my parents and relatives. I then started keeping a diary or journal. There are notebooks upon notebooks of stories that I’ve started writing that are sitting in my closet right now. I had the most fun in school when it came to creative writing—whether it be a poem or short story.
Were you inspired by someone or something?
Groom and Doom was inspired by my wedding in Greece. The experience was so unbelievable, I knew that truth was stranger than fiction and I had to write the story. Things are fictionalized and exaggerated, but there are definitely some real truths in it. The whole process of writing it and making parts of it even more ridiculous was very cathartic for me.
What do you like about writing a story?
I love the process of writing and getting in touch with the deepest part of myself. I’d like to think that comes out in my work. It’s also such a thrill to write a sentence and wonder, did I really write that? I really believe that we often can tap into the collective unconscious. That’s really what bonds us as human beings—we’re all somehow connected and can respond to universal truths. Shakespeare is proof of that—it’s why he’s still relevant today.
Can you tell us about your book?
The main character tries to make sense of tragedy in her life and search for spiritual answers/meaning. She tries to look at what happens to her as a way to find self-empowerment and be a stronger person. One of the themes is "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." The book covers a wide range of life questions like can we live happily ever after with a soul mate, or is it more complicated than that? I also try to get the reader to wonder why things really happen to us. How can we learn from life experiences? Although there are some tragic moments, I also make an effort to make situations and reactions to them humorous. I feel we need to laugh at life and its circumstances as much as possible. If we don’t laugh, we cry. Laughing is always better.
How did you come up with the story?
During the wedding in Greece, I found myself taking notes and knew I would use them in a book. To me, that was a sign I had to write the story.
What genre best fits for the book?
I’m not really sure how to answer that. It’s part family drama, part romantic tragi-comedy; it’s spiritual, and so many other things. I would probably say it falls most closely under chicklit, partly because my target audience is women.
Are you working on something new at the moment?
I've already begun writing another novel set in Renaissance England. It will have more sex and violence in it and will be part of a series. The main character struggles to find herself and her personal empowerment in a time period when women had little power. Gender roles and issues of self-esteem really fascinate me.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Write, write, and write some more. Set aside a specific time to write and always carry a little notepad to take down thoughts. What really helped me was to join a writers’ group. I found great ones on Meetup.com. It’s a way to get feedback and to network. I also found that it would make me write something every week to bring to the meetings—it’s a fabulous way to have a deadline. Twitter has also been an incredible way to network. There are so many writers who post tips or have blogs on writing.
Which authors inspire you?
The list is endless and it really depends on my mood. Vonnegut is one of my favorites because he took so many risks in his writing and because he often surprised me with his subject matter. I love gothic literature—Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I also enjoy great satire—Catch-22 was an amazing read for me. Books sometimes find me when I need them. Eat, Pray, Love was given to me by a friend when I was going through a tough time. It was the right book at the right time. I really could go on all day about my favorite books or authors. David Sedaris is such a superb comedic author—and I’ve met him personally. He takes the time to talk to all of his fans and is very gracious. That truly inspires me.
Where can people go to read your work?
The book is on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble. Sample chapters are available on my website.
Where can people find you on the internet?
Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
I just hope that my readers will not only enjoy my books, but be able to gain something meaningful. A successful book leaves us with something—an inspirational thought or discussion. That is my wish for my readers.