So, how did I finally get my act together? I joined writers’ groups, found critique partners, volunteered to be a critique partner, took “how to get published” seminars, and creative writing courses. Heck, I even taught creative writing for a while. Then, when I felt confident enough to handle rejection again, I sent a short story to a submissions call and the rest is history.
What was your first sale as an author? My first sale was the story mentioned above. It’s called Ice Crystal and tells the story of a woman who goes to her grandmother’s cabin in Sweden to escape from the memories of her deceased husband and their life together. What she finds, with the help of her personal mountain angel, is a sexy man who makes her realize she is a beautiful woman with the strength and passion to go forward. I was very proud of this and even though I have grown as an author since then, I still love this story.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers? Why yes I do, Ms Val. How kind of you to ask. In fact, I feel I have one of the best in the country. I rely on her and a few others for feedback, but not to the extent I did when I first started. That isn’t because I couldn’t use the help, but I don’t have time to reciprocate as much as I would like, and I don’t like to impose on others if I can’t return the favor.
What do you think makes a good story? I need two things in a good story. One it shows growth in the characters. They face a challenge of some kind and become better people for having faced it. Two I can visualize and sympathize. It sucks me in on several levels until the world around me disappears and all I can see, hear, smell and feel comes from the pages or the screen.
Where do you dream of traveling to and why? Ireland. My maiden name is Irish and even though it has been thinned and changed by a hundred other nationalities, Ireland seems to call to me. I don’t know much about the country other than what is written in a very old diary my great-uncle had, but I would love to see it first hand. Some day, if I ever have unlimited disposable income, I would like to spend a month traveling around the island with my hubby with no greater agenda than to meet as many people as possible.
Does travel play in the writing of your books? I never realized it, but my early work often had travel of some sort. Presently, I tend to write things closer to home. Maybe it is that idea that we write what we know. When I do travel personally, it is usually with friends to escape the coldest part of winter and we hit the Maya Riviera. Lately, hubby and I have been talking about going to the Bahamas or someplace like that for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and that is where the most recent traveling novel is set. Maybe I did that subconsciously since the research had been primarily done.
What does your significant other and family think of your writing career? Most of them don’t know many details. My hubby and my kids know that I write romance, but the kids don’t know I write erotic romance though I suppose since they are adults now, they could look up my work and find out fairly quickly. For the most part, I don’t share with my extended family. Sometimes it is better if they don’t know what dances around in my head.
Does your significant other read your stuff? Funny. No. The man is an electrical engineer. If it is not a tech manual or a mopar magazine, he’s not reading it. He has helped me work out a scene or two on occasion, but I didn’t tell him I had an agenda. Ignorance can be bliss or blissful as the case may be.
Tell us about your favorite restaurant. My favorite restaurant is in Austin, TX. We lived there for a very brief time while hubby did an internship. County Line on the Lake is sort of a classy barbeque joint. I know that is an oxymoron to some extent, but it was great. My daughter was a toddler at the time (She turns twenty in January.) and the waitresses loved her. We would strip her down to her little panties, and she would dive into the ribs like they were manna from heaven. My hubby was busy snarfing down the honey wheat bread. I don’t remember what my son liked there as he hated messy foods. He never protested going though so they must have had something he could eat with a fork. When all the delicious food was gone, the waitress would bring hot scented towels. I can’t remember if they were lemon or mint, but they did a great job on cleaning the girl child well enough to put her in the car. It was my favorite place because while I enjoyed the view of the lake, watching my daughter and her father enjoy every morsel of their meals with such enthusiasm made me happy somehow. Thankfully, we never had to strip hubby down to his briefs. I am sure it would not have had the same charming effect on the other guest as the little blond two-year-old.
What was the scariest moment of your life? The day I lost my son for hours. My life has been fairly uneventful. I live a pretty quiet existence so the scariest moment in it, might not have been so scary to anyone else. It freaked me out. My son was in first grade and he usually walked home from school as it was only a couple blocks. The day I started a new job, was also an early release day from his school. I arranged to have the babysitter’s kids walk him to her house, and I reminded him that he was to go there. He forgot and so did the other kids. I called to tell the babysitter that I would be later than expected, and she informed me that T had never arrived. That was at two o’clock.
I didn’t really worry then as he had always been told to go to the neighbors if he got home and I wasn’t there. I called the neighbor and got a busy signal so I knew she was home. I finished my errands and went home as quickly as I could. I hurried across the street and with a laugh asked if T was there knowing full well he was. When she said no, my stomach dropped. I ran back home and his backpack was in the sun porch but he wasn’t around. The wind chill factor was very high that day, but more than that I remember he had told me some strange man had said hi to him a few days before. He thought he knew the guy but wasn’t sure. More than two hours had passed by then and I was almost throwing up. As I went into the house to make sure he hadn’t fallen asleep somewhere and didn’t hear me call, the phone rang. The babysitter called to tell me he had arrived and she was warming him up. Apparently, he had sat in the porch until he panicked and started to cry. [Give him a break he was only six.] He finally remembered that I had told him to go to the babysitters. He didn’t even think about going across the street. He just went where he was supposed to go. The poor kid walked eight blocks in the bitter cold with wet gloves and wet cheeks. His poor face was raw for a week, but I have never been so glad to see anyone in my life.
My family is my touch stone. They enable me to do or face almost anything, but losing one of them would destroy me. Hubby is not allowed to die before me, and my children are never to do anything to get themselves seriously hurt. It is the law because I said so.
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