Do you believe in the paranormal?
Yes. There are certainly a number of scam artists out there, but I have a number of friends who have some ability. But no I know one can control it at all. Common sense work probably does as well or better for finding answers, but it’s not as much fun, and it’s not as thought provoking as using the Tarot or the I Ching. Aside from thinking the same thing at the same time as my husband, with no obvious clue, I’ve only had a couple of experience s that were striking. One was throwing the I Ching. I did it several times, rephrasing the question because I didn’t like the answers. It finally had a snit fit. My next fortune told me that if I didn’t stop trying to force the answer I wanted, it would start lying. The other I blogged about recently, which was visiting the room where Van Gogh died. Both times I felt a terrible grief enter me, something I since learned is called an imprint. It was not sadness welling from within, because Van Gogh is a favorite artist and had such an unacknowledged life. It was definitely a sensation that descended on me, and departed once I left the room.
Your heroine gets a Tarot reading. Do you give Tarot readings?
I did a few for friends back in my hippie days in the sixties. After that, I mostly played around with the cards myself, for inspiration. Or I got readings from other people. But I’ve used the Tarot in a couple of my books because it’s wonderful for foreshadowing and is so poetic.
You’re a Libra. Do you think about the astrological signs of your characters?
Always. I usually do a chart for them, more descriptive than exactly accurate to the time period. But since Floats the Dark Shadow is so much closer in time to us, I picked actual charts for all my major and many of the secondary characters. Theo is a Libra like me, and with an Aries moon, too—but in her it’s more recklessness than temper. She has more fire than I do, and more Earth. Michel has a lot of intense, driven Scorpio, but also a lot of romantic, justice-loving Libra, and a very grounded Capricorn rising.
Have you started another book yet?
I started the sequel right after I finished Shadow, but I’ve had a lot of breaks in my attention with marketing efforts. But I do have have a good start.
How did you develop your writing?
To a great extent by osmosis, just reading books and thinking about why I liked or disliked them. And by studying film, which is a great way to look at structure.
What surprised you most in writing Floats the Dark Shadow?
I didn’t know Theo would fall in love with Averill. That added a lot of intensity. I didn’t know how it was going to end—not beyond catching the killer, so I got to be surprised as well as the characters.
If you were going to write about a different historical period, what would you choose?
I liked two of the ones that I used in my romances, Renaissance Italy and Elizabethan England. Paris in the 20s would be great. Or Victorian England.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing when I was about twelve and continued intermittently through my teen age years, mostly short stories and poems. I wanted to be a ballerina, then an actress, and I often thought about being an artist. I always loved book illustration, even though it was still denigrated when I was in college. Art for Art Sake was cry. It wasn’t until grad school that I decided that writing was probably my strongest talent. Art is a more soothing pursuit, but escaping into the fictional worlds I create is more enthralling. I think I avoided considering it as a career for a long time because it doesn’t flow easily for me, the way painting does.
What contributes to making a writer successful?
Talent, perseverance, being open and willing to continue learning your craft all contribute to success. And luck is a huge factor. There are an amazing number of wonderful writers who remain unpublished, and published authors who remain unread.
How often do you write? And when do you write?
I try to write every day, but I’m very inconsistent and easily distracted. One of the reasons I hate marketing is that it takes over so much.
Who is your publisher?
BearCat Press published Floats the Dark Shadow. Tess Collins is a writer who had a lot of frustrations with the industry and decided to reprint her books and start her own publishing company. The books she’s chosen are all good. My novel won some Indie awards. One of her books and a short story collection she published were up for ForeWord awards. BearCat is still very small, but she’s hoping to make a success of it. She’s a smart business woman, and very ethical, so I’m hoping the second book will be with BearCat too.
Publishing horror story?
Well, mine aren’t horrific compared to some I’ve heard, but certainly horrifically frustrating. When I wrote romance, my books were bought twice by editors who loved that they were different and wanted to make me a star. Three months later they’d be gone and I’d have four more editors, bing bam bim, ending up with someone from Harlequin who’d want something light and breezy and would just want me to disappear.
My second romance will be republished with the title I wanted, just Marian, since she’s very much the center of it, caught between Robin and Guy of Guisbourne. That was rejected at the time. I thought A Vigilant Heart would be fine, what with “Heart” prominent in the title, but someone didn’t know what vigilant meant and someone else thought it sounded like a mystery. So that got tossed. My Marian’s very tough, a warrior, and they kept insisting on titles that focused on Robin, or were too sweet or wimpy. I was spared Thief of My Heart, but forced to compromise with The Thief’s Mistress. It’s not a bad romance title, but it doesn’t do anything to conjure my book, it’s very swashbuckling. In my mind, it has lots of petticoats. Maybe Gypsies. Not Robin—he’s so much more than just a “thief.”
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Genre – Historical Mystery
Rating – R