Who’s your favorite author?
I have so many, but I would say that John Steinbeck, the American author of Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, is one of my favorites. I also love Alice Munro, the Canadian author – her book of short stories, A Bird in the House, was one of my high school required reading texts. Margaret Laurence may be my favorite author. My son once gave me a set of her books. The Prophet’s Camel Bell, nonfiction, and written during her stay in Africa with her engineer husband, is another of my favorites. Margaret Atwood also is excellent. Her prophetic book, The Handmaid’s Tale, has been made into a movie as well, I believe, but The Edible Woman is another I enjoyed, as well as Penelope, a modern retelling of the Odysseus story.
Which book or books have most informed you as a writer?
As a writer, I have been influenced by female literary writers and poets as well as the science fiction greats such as Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and so on. My father read these books and I was exposed to them at a young age. My son also liked the same sort of traditional science fiction. Greg Bear’s book Eon and William Gibson as an author also informed me as a writer, I believe. That doesn’t really answer your question, but the most influential book as a writer may have been a little known and short book I read about 40 years ago called Journey to Arcturus. The Anne of Green Gables books also influenced me as a young girl, and Emily of New Moon. So many.
When did you realize you wanted to write?
Ever since I can remember. I was able to print little poems and stories when I was about five and started then, and before that, I’d entertain my brothers and sister with stories I’d tell them before bedtime or on the way to school. All I ever wanted to be was a writer as a young girl, and thought that a journalist would be a worthy occupation. However, I didn’t follow that career path and wasn’t published until fairly recently.
What was your last completed project?
What are you working on now?
My WIP is an adult fantasy called Engaging the Dragon. A sort of an adult fairytale, set on an alien planet, complete with dragons and a princess, and a handsome prince.
What is your writing “process” typically like?
I am very unorganized in my writing and often write for long hours late at night, or go for several weeks or even months without writing. I write at a PC, not a laptop, by a window where I have my desk set up. Sometimes I listen to music. I’m quite a fast typist but will write out scenes in longhand on yellow lined paper if I’m stuck for a scene or something that comes to me quickly, for example, in the night, and I want to get it down. I’ve begun to make outlines though I don’t usually write the synopsis until the book or story is finished. I make notes and do research on line or sometimes glean from real life what I want to describe, but I use my imagination more than facts as I often write fantasy or SF, though a reader gave SpaceHive 2 stars at one time because of factual errors. I’ll sit down with a cup of tea and don’t set aside any specific length of time to write. I write from an outline now more than I used to. Sometimes I’m quite prolific.
How do you combat writer’s block?
I seldom have writer’s block but when I do, I simply write nonsense or a lot of swear words to get me going, and make sure it’s all typed down and then it sort of automatically goes into writing mode and I can break the writer’s block. But writer’s block doesn’t happen often, I suppose because I don’t have concrete times to write. If I don’t feel like writing I often don’t. I’ll go out for walks, too, listen to music, or a really good method is to read someone else’s book in the same or a different genre.
Where do your ideas come from?
My head and my life experience, reading, talking to people, I don’t think any authors have a dearth of ideas. They are always there.
What’s your greatest challenge as a writer?
Making time to market my books and stories. I just am a complete suck at promotion, though I’m making a real effort lately to get in the game.
And what has been your greatest triumph (so far)?
Being accepted by a small press after working with the publisher on an idea for my first novel, SpaceHive, which was originally written after a friend was stung by wasps in her garden. I began to wonder, what if they were huge alien wasps out to conquer Earth, and someone was immune to the stings, and the book evolved from there. I approached the publisher with the draft and she had had a dream the night before about bees, so was more interested in my concept, I think, because of the dream and it was coincidental that it should happen then. That was the first book I’d had accepted, and it was while I was still in my sixties or late fifties. It has since been republished by Creativia. I initially called it The Jive Hive. My original publisher suggested a name change.