I’ve been challenged, and I’m afraid I don’t know how to say no to a challenge, so when Mary T. Wagner contacted me with this, I ignored a to-do list the size of a full length novel, and said yes. I mean, how unlikely is it that Mary and I should ever meet in the first place, a woman from rural Wisconsin who wears actual stilettos, and a tomboy from coastal Georgia? A look at her book, Running in Stilettos, and a glance at her bio, convinced me we had a lot in common. Mary has been described by reviewers as "the Midwest's answer to Carrie Bradshaw" and favorably compared to humorist Erma Bombeck...but "in sexier shoes. Her newest book, "When the Shoe Fits...Essays of Love, Life and Second Chances" is a "best of" complication drawn from Running with Stilettos, Heck on Heels and Fabulous in Flats.
The challenge she issued requires that I answer three questions, so here goes:
What am I working on?
I usually have two or three projects going at once. If I get stuck on one, I pick up another. My primary project is the sequel to Conjuror, my literary thriller under contract to Mercer University Press and due out in September 2015. The sequel is tentatively titled Covenant, and it’s a pleasure to work with these characters again. The second one is a supernatural mystery entitled Sabilla Sees. I have turned in the first two books in a YA mystery series under contract to Ecanus UK, and have a good start on the third. Book one is soon to be released.
How does my book differ from others of the same genre?
Everything I write seems to take a weird turn somewhere. Conjuror is a good example. It started as a reimagining of some of the old Cherokee legends I learned growing up in Robbinsville NC, with my mom’s Cherokee people and a grandfather who was a master storyteller. Remembering took me back to a different world, and that world flowed onto the screen like magic. In it, I was still a little girl, believing in enchantment and looking for little people in the woods. My parents, brothers, parents and grandparents showed up and came to life, participating in the mystic tales I believed in with my whole heart as a child. As improbable as the story is, it’s the closest I’ll come to writing an autobiography.
Why do I write what I do?
I write what I would like to read, and I have eclectic tastes. Twisted Hair came from a homesick place in my soul, where I felt the sorrow of the elders who told stories of the Cherokee people, from the time they lived in the fabled mother town, through the removal and trail of tears, and it ended before the lost mother town was found and reclaimed. I’m doing a new edition to reflect the fact that the Eastern Band now owns the site where it used to stand.
Those are the only two books from my Cherokee heritage. I wrote them to honor my mother’s people and to express the memory that resides in my DNA of days gone by, and will ever call me home to the Smoky Mountains.
Too Big Buck is my only children’s book. I ghosted it for our 35 pound Pomeranian, Buck, who was unwanted because he was much bigger than his owner anticipated. I’m passionate about kindness to animals and pet rescue, and this was a way to express to children that good dogs, like good people, come in all shapes and sizes.
I wrote my YA paranormal mystery series because writing it was more fun than I’ve ever had as a writer. Watch for it this fall, and you’ll see why.
How does my writing process work?
Sometimes, it doesn’t. I have several half-finished books that languish unfinished and probably will continue to do so. If the writing becomes forced, it shows in the finished product, so I put it aside and work on something that wants to be written. I write a short blurb, just the basic beginning, middle and end, to give me a bit of a guide line, then I start writing and give my characters their freedom to evolve. I often write in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep, because that’s when I’m wide awake.
Now that I’ve completed the challenge, I’ll follow Mary’s instructions and pass it on to three other writers.
First, is Charlotte Henley Babb. She is a mythologist who teaches her readers to rediscover the joys of fairy tales in a fresh new way.
Second: Tina Whittle. I’m reading a proof of Deeper than the Grave, and can’t put it down.
Third, Lee Lofland. He writes fiction and nonfiction, but his poetic rendering of true stories from his law enforcement background will touch your heart. His blog, The Graveyard Shift, is a must for writers of police procedurals.