Tell us a bit about your latest work.
Dragon Rain is a collection of 18 stories of dragons and their kin set in the past, present, and future. Filled with magic, these dragon tales of adventure, dark fantasy, and romance occur in locations around the globe as well as in fantastical worlds. Dragon Rain was released September 3, 2021 by Mocha Memoirs Press LLC I think fans of dragons will find lots of stories in the book to love. Here's the link for those interested: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BRHMWFV/
What happened in your life that prompted you to become a writer?
When I was 3, my family visited an older friend on a regular basis. “Grandma Margaret” gave me a little 12-page booklet from The Platt & Munk, Co. Inc.'s fairy-tale/folktale series on each visit to entertain myself with while the adults chatted. The books were easy to read, had wonderful illustrations, and a poem on the back page. I think those booklets (I still have quite a few of them) influenced the direction of my life! In addition to my fiction, I have hundreds of poems and over 1,000 illustrations in print. So you never know what small thing you do might have a great impact on a child.
Everything inspires me, but it is the need to tell stories that keeps me writing.
What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?
I think my fiction often deals with people making choices and the consequences of their actions and choices. Also, since I believe the world is still filled with magic, mystery, and miracles, nothing seems too strange to include in one of my tales—so wondrous things happen. Lastly, I suppose love is a theme I return to. Whether romantic, parental, between friends, for a pet, beyond death, etc., love is often woven into my fiction.
What would be your dream project?
I suppose once I'm fully re-immersed in The Chronicles of Lifthrasir (the world of my novel), an opportunity to see that world brought to life on film. I've always been fascinated by the process of using a book as the beginning place for a movie. It would be interesting to participate in that process.
What writers have influenced your style and technique?
Every writer I've read, from good to awful has influenced me! Even when I was young, I noticed when a story rang true and held my interest. From childhood on, when I read a poorly-written book, I think about what I would do to make it better. If I get specific, I suppose for quality world-building J.R.R. Tolkien influenced me. For writing solid short stories, Ray Bradbury would be one of the authors whose work influenced me. As far as finding the magical in the every day, I think Neil Gaiman is a writer who influenced me. There are so many others I could mention. It's tough to choose just a few.
This is an easy question! My fantasy novel, The Enchanted Dagger, was a quick write, found a New York agent with a good reputation immediately, and seemed on its way to traditional publishing. Alas, my agent suddenly left the business and none of the remaining agents at her agency wanted to touch her old projects, so the book became homeless. After multiple “close, but no” agent attempts, I placed the novel with an indie publisher. It didn't work out. I pulled the book, then placed it with its current indie publisher. But the rest of the books in the series remain difficult to write. Years have passed since I completed The Enchanted Dagger. Lately, I've gotten 2 more books in the series well on their way to completion. If I could go back in time, I suppose I'd find a different agent AND (this is the most important part) I'd complete multiple books in the series before submitting the first book, so they could be released closer together.
Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?
I think writing is both! A good writer needs to know and understand the craft of writing—its rules and tools. A good writer also has to elevate the basic techniques to art in order to add magic to the story they are telling. By magic, I don't mean pixie dust and unicorns (though those are wonderful things). I mean the magic which allows a reader to suspend their disbelief and live in the world a writer creates from their imagination.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
How do your writer friends help you become a better writer? Or do they not?
Much to my regret, the Covid virus has limited in-person contact with my writer friends. Still, I try to touch base with them via phone or online. My writer friends offer honest feedback and encouragement, listen to my groans when my work is rejected, and share their experiences so I know I'm not alone in the writing journey. Though writing is usually a solitary pursuit, it's nice to know there are others walking the same path, stumbling over the same stones, climbing the same mountains, and hopefully, finding the same publishing success along the way.
What does literary success look like to you?
Telling all the stories in my head, having them published, and finding readers who want to share the worlds I've created.