Many moons ago, the fantabulous Lousia Perkins did an interview on her blog and asked if anyone else would like to do something similar. I said yes, and she sent me the interview questions--I feel so special. So, here they go:
1. Name the best book you've read in the past year or so, and explain why.
Yikes, first question and I’m drawing a blank. BEST book is a pretty specific request and I’m not sure I can choose, but I can give you a few of my favorites. I absolutely loved HB Moore’s Land of Inheritance, the fourth book in her Book of Mormon series. She gives such ‘realness’ to these people and I it was the first book in a looooooong time I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. to read. I also loved Judy Olsen’s Beyond the Horizon, it followed five generations of men and I loved the way the author blended them together and showed how fathers affected the lives of their sons. I also read Peace like a River, which was an incredibly profound and moving story for me, so well written. And then I read Beneath a Marble Sky which was also just so well done, though if you read it check out Tristi Pinkston’s review so you can avoid some of the more raw scenes in the book.
In a book I want characters I can ‘know’ and a plot that won’t let go of me. I don’t like many literary novels, I don’t like ones with graphic sex and violence and the typical romance no longer holds my attention very well.
2. What is your darkest secret?
No way am I telling my darkest secret—sorry ☺ However, for many years we set the clocks forward two hours on new years eve so we didn’t have to stay up so late.
3. What writers have most influenced you and your work, and why?
The author’s whose books have influenced me the most are probably Mary Higgins Clark, Sue Graphton and John Grisham. Reading one of their books makes me want to sit down and right. Their strengths invigorate me and their weaknesses send me on search of my own. As for real-life authors I know that have influenced me the most, that would be Rachel Nunes, Chris Heimerdinger, and Julie Wright. In their own way each of them have encouraged me or taught me something that has made the BIG changes in my career which has helped me get to where I am today. Without them and their influence on my writing I don’t know that I’d be in the same place. Julie Wright specifically has cheered me on down every path I’ve trodden, she’s been an incredible example and encouraging aspect to my writing. Everyone should have a Julie.
4. How long had you been submitting before you made your first writing sale?
About six months. I have done everything backward, I started with a novel that I believed was brilliant inspiration. I'd never taken any writing classes other than basic high-school and college mandatories. I learned after that book that it just doesn't work that way. So I learned how to actually write a novel, then wrote a few more, and then got into articles. I have truly been a work in progress from the get-go. I possessed enough knowledge of structure and what I liked to read to get me started and have learned the rest as I’ve gone along. I don’t necessarily recommend that approach—it’s fraught with problems, huge time investments, insecurity, and a high-failure rate—but it worked for me. A few years ago I attended a conference where Shannon Hale rolled out this laminated roll of rejections. It was so cool and I wished I had a stack like that. I have about ten, now that I've writing articles, but not nearly enough to roll down an isle. I've been working on it though.
5. Gum chewing: for or against?
Chewing gum in my mouth—no thanks unless my breath is really rancid; gum makes my tummy hurt and my jaw ache. Chewing gum in other people’s mouths—suit yourself but don’t chew with your mouth open and don’t chew that apple flavored Extra gum—it smells like marijuana. Chewing gum in hair, carpet, or clothing—definitely against.
Just as Lousia did for me, I'm happy to pay this forward. If anyone would like me to send them questions, just let me know, though I don't suggest you keep me to a deadline.