WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START WRITING?
Writing always came easy to me as a means of self-expression. As a preteen and teenage girl I wrote all the requisite poems filled with angst. My poor parents had to sit through my overly dramatic poetry readings. But it's only been in the last six to seven years that I thought of writing fiction for publication. About five years ago, I got really serious about it. I thought I had something the Lord wanted me to say. A message that should be said and could be said in fiction.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WRITING CRIME FICTION, IN PARTICULAR?
Historically, I believe crime fiction has a basic morality to it. In fact, I think the entire genre comes out of the ethos of the Christian west. In crime fiction the hero, traditionally, is the good guy and he or she is hunting the bad guy. The bad guy is usually brought to justice by the end of the story. As a Christian writer, this appeals to me. I also enjoy figuring out what clues to imbed in the story, but in such a way that the reader can't figure them out until the very end.
WHAT AUTHORS HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
James Scott Bell was perhaps the first Christian thriller author who influenced me. Then Robert Liparulo, J. Mark Bertrand, Steven James, Sibella Giorello, Eric Wilson, and Ted Dekker. I've gone ga-ga over all of them...written reviews about their novels, plastered Facebook and Twitter with raves. I'm very loyal to writers who stimulate my mind and engage my spirit. I also have a few general market crime fiction authors who have influenced me: Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Barbara Parker, Lee Child.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING AUTHORS?
Keep writing. Don't worry about what it looks like on the page, not in the first draft anyway. Get a story written and put "the end" on it. Join a good critique group like the ones American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) have going. And read the top writers in your genre, the ones who have won literary contests and who are best sellers.
ARE YOU A PLOTTER OR A PANTSER?
I'm a combination of the two. I keep a file of prospective story ideas. At the moment I've got about fifty possible stories, most of them so horrid they will never see the light of day. However, there are a handful that I add to and develop. Eventually I will have complete synopsis, sometimes quite a long and detailed synopsis. But it's not even close to an outline. Outlining is way too plotter for me. I take that detailed synopsis and start writing seat of the pants. I do keep a file, which is a summary of finished chapters. I'll note details that might be useful later in the story. That way I won't have to go back and reread an entire chapter to check on a detail.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT RELEASE.
Goodbye Noel, the second in the Sanctuary Point series, released in December. The story unfolds during the Christmas and New Year's vacation (1946/47) on the south shore of Long Island, NY. Even though it's set at this time, it can be read at any time of year. It's about new beginnings, rising out of the ashes and starting again. It's about friends and loved ones helping each other. It's about honesty in a love relationship, about trust and fidelity.
Perilous Shadows, the third novel in the series will release in mid-July of this year. It's set in August of 1947 and opens with the murder of a college coed.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER THAT YOU'VE WRITTEN ABOUT IN YOUR
STORIES? (AND WHY)
I like all of the heroes and heroines in my novels. If I had to choose, it would be either Katrina Lenart or Det. Ian Daltry in Goodbye Noel. Of the two, I'd have to choose Katrina. She is beautiful and smart. One of the most endearing things about her is the love she shows for an orphaned infant whose mother was the first murder victim. Katrina also has a deep faith, nothing surface.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM YOUR RESEARCH?
In the first novel, Burning Hearts, my hero Lorne Kincade had been an operative on secret missions for General George Patton in France during WWII. The most interesting thing I learned was that not only did General Patton orchestrate such covert missions, but that in Germany he also tried to sneak an entire tank detachment behind enemy lines.
HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN?
I've written three novels in the Sanctuary Point series. Burning Hearts and Goodbye Noel are already out. The third one, Perilous Shadows will release this July. There will be a fourth novel in the series, but readers will have to wait for that one. I also have a contemporary romantic thriller, Network Then Die, which will release toward the end of this year. So, you see, I've been quite busy.
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