Thank you for joining me. Tell us a little about your writing adventure.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Writing has always been a part of my life whether it was the play I wrote in grammar school that my class performed, or being selected news editor of my high school paper. Many years later, I wrote weekly entertainment columns and reviews for both of our beach newspapers for over twelve years. I continued to write short stories for fun. Writing a book has always been a goal of mine. When the central character of the gypsy came to me one day, she inspired me to write THE LOVE GYPSY. Raya, the gypsy, is not only kind, but middle aged, beautiful and intelligent. She does not profess to tell the future but is intuitive making her successful at helping her clients find a soul mate. Her talents do not stop there. She is a time traveler’s friend helping those from another time resolve a problem brought to the present. She does not consider herself a psychic but admits that she possesses the gift of her ancestors. Her primary goal is to find true love for those who don’t expect it. As a beautiful young police detective tricked into visiting her says, she’s “ not like anything I expected.”
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Writing, or something else?
I always had a vivid imagination. Sometimes, I’m sure my mother thought too vivid. I held tea parties for my dolls and pets and acted out careers that captured my interest. The first was a ballerina. I danced at home struggling to stay on my toes but my chubby feet were too flat to get into proper toe shoes. I was upset when the dance instructor told my mother that I should settle for tap dancing which is wonderful in its own right but her statement just crushed me so I decided on piano lessons instead. Then I thought I’d become an astronaut. I would feign illness to stay home from school and watch the manned space launches on TV. I loved to pretend I was walking on another planet. As I got older I and learned about how our government worked, I was so impressed I thought I’d like to run for office. I would write speeches and practice them using a spoon for a mike but my favorite thing to do was to make up stories… not lies but stories about a doll, my dog and repeat the silly things to anyone who’d listen. I loved telling stories and those stories led me to writing just for fun. Now that I’m older and wiser I understand how difficult it is to tell that story in an interesting and fun way. As a writer, I understand that I must continually learn about the craft that is our passion and improve with each effort.
Do you belong to any non-writing organizations?
Yes. I am a member of a no-kill animal shelter. I had the privilege of serving on their board of directors for three years. I resigned when Hurricane Charley (a category four storm) hit our area. I felt that I had too much at home to take care of to do a good job for them. I am also a member of Ostego Bay Foundation, a marine science center that is a valued part of our island community. The foundation promotes the conservation of our fragile marine eco-system, instructs school-age children about our sea life, while maintaining a separate oil spill co-op for our section of the Gulf of Mexico. They provide tours of the docks central to our shrimping industry and operate an educational day camp for youngsters. I’m a licensed real estate broker so I belong to our local Board of Realtors. Of course I am a member of Romance Writers of America and the Southwest Florida Romance Writers. We have an active and wonderful chapter. Members encourage new writers and the chapter actively provides professional training.
Have you ever traveled to a place and come away with a story unexpectedly?
Yes, but it came to me years later. I am writing a sequel to The Love Gypsy involving an English Duchess from the 17th century who comes to the present. I visited some friends in Derbyshire, England several years ago. We visited Chatsworth, the lovely royal estate of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Walking through the massive hallways filled with antiques and original books by Audubon, my imagination became captivated by this lavish yet elegant lifestyle. The rooms were filled with lovely period furniture and silver pieces. The manicured grounds and gardens cover 105 acres. Remembering that lovely estate while curious about its past residents definitely influenced my newest time travel romance.