What has been your proudest writing achievement?
Hi, Glynis, thanks for having me back! It’s good to be here! I would say one of my proudest writing achievements were the 8 awards my first book Pegasus — A Dragon’s Tale has won. I was also just notified that Button Nose has won its first award, which is the Silver Mom’s Choice Award in the Children’s Picture Book: Bedtime Stories Category!!!!! I’m thrilled to say the least!
Is writing your full-time job?
Yes, I’ve been writing over 41 years and it’s become like breathing! I’ve been home full-time since July, 2007, with an arthritic hip so I spend whatever time I can working on my stories.
I have words I need to be aware of, and my comma usage is a nightmare … What are your writing strengths and weaknesses?
My strengths, I suppose, are the ease in which I come up with the plots for my stories. The weaknesses are similar to yours, except instead of commas, mine is the possessive form of words i.e. its, hers, etc. Years ago, I had a problem using punctuation at the end of a quote. I would end the quote with a period and then add the he said or she said with another period. A guy I used to associate with pointed this error out and I have to keep it in mind when I write anything now. Sometimes it still doesn’t look right to me!
Do you have a writing routine or any writing rituals?
I usually try to start some writing after breakfast. First I like to clear out all my emails and get rid of any junk mail, then I get on Facebook for a bit and then start my writing in between. Some days are more successful than others!
Do you track and plot your novels?
Well, I write children’s books mostly but I do plot them. Sometimes I come up with plot ideas in the shower or lying in bed!
Have you ever based characters on people you know?
I did one time. It was a short sci-fi story and I based the one character on this creepy guy my brother used to hang out with. His last name was Ferguson so I named the character Fargus. Needless to say, he got his just desserts at the end of the story!
What are you working on at the moment?
The sequel to my first book Pegasus — A Dragon’s Tale. I actually have to start working on it again as I’ve been concentrating so much on Button Nose the last year that I don’t think I’ve looked at it more than once! So once the proverbial dust settles, I hope to get back to it. I’m also waiting for my illustrator to get started on the images for my retelling of the Cinderella story, which I hope to put out once that’s done.
I love the Victorian era … Do you have a favourite era you write about?
Well, again, mine are children’s books so, for Pegasus I had to create my own little world for the characters to live in as they were anthropomorphic bears and a baby dragon that comes back 200 feet tall! For Button Nose, since it’s based on the teddy bear I had as a child, I just set it “in the time when your grandparents were small”.
I have recently used music to inspire a scene … Do you listen to music while you work?
We’re actually opposites there, Glynis — I need absolute quiet when I write or else I lose concentration! I think that’s why in high school and college I always hung out in the library — I used to get a good bit of writing done there or was able to finish some homework if I needed to.
Do you have a team behind your writing life? Editor, beta readers, etc?
Actually, I’m glad you asked. I have a wonderful editor named Ayla Page, she’s out of the UK. She works quickly and I think her rates are quite reasonable. What I like about her is that she doesn’t wrinkle her nose when I use the British spelling of certain words, which is a personal preference. I just think words “look” better that way, but a lot of so-called “experts” here in the US act like I’ve committed a major faux pas.
Please share with us an amusing story in your life … it need not be writing connected.
Okay, this was a tough question, Glynis, but I think I came up with something that happened when I was working at a discount department store maybe 20 years ago. At the time I was very much into Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece The Phantom of the Opera so one of my co-workers joked that we should come up with our own version. He would be the Phantom and hide out in the stairwell, etc. and, one day, no sooner had he said he’d be the Phantom of Clover, than BOOM! the lights went out!!!!! There was actually a thunder storm happening at the time, but it was just funny how we lost power right at that moment! It made it all the more mysterious and we laughed about it for months!