How did you come up with your premise? Is there a story behind your book? How did the story evolve? This is going to sound so strange, but the idea for the story hit me while grocery shopping. Right there in the frozen foods section, I had the ol' “what if” scenario!
For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb? Sure. A dead child that isn't dead. A cop out of control. When their worlds collide, God intervenes.
Are there any fun titbits about this story you can share with us? Jesse was supposed to be a minor character. Like some characters will do, he tried to take over. I had to wrestle him down sometimes and remind him it was Ellie's story, not his.
How did you decide on the setting? I'm totally in love with the North Carolina mountains and foothills and the plot needed snow. I'm a firm believer in allowing the setting and weather associated with that setting to become secondary characters in themselves.
When will it be released? July 26
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Probably Ireland. My dad's side of the family hailed from County Galway and we're very proud of our Irish roots.
What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write? It depends on what I'm writing. I make a playlist before I type the first word and will play it during every writing session. I pick songs that are similar to the overall tone of the story.
What are you most passionate about, other than writing? Developing my grandkids' imaginations. With stuff like making a tent in the living room with an old quilt. I'm also very passionate about animal welfare – particularly dogs. I'm a strong advocate for rescue organizations.
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out? This is such an exciting time to be a writer. I don't know of a time when there have been so many different opportunities available. That being said, because there are so many opportunities, you have to study and research the industry. As far as actually writing goes, you have to be able to develop the story. It doesn't matter how much talent you have, if the story doesn't work, it doesn't work.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing? Character, character, and character. Did I mention character? Without well-written, well developed characters no one is going to care about the plot to begin with.
How do you develop your plots and characters? Usually, they work hand-in-hand. You have to understand your characters' motivation and characters, like people, have agendas – it's why they do the things they do, think the way they do that moves the plot forward.
How do you come up with the titles to your books? The title usually comes very early in the process for me. If it doesn't, I usually end up struggling with the story. It doesn't seem “real” to me unless it has a name, so to speak. I think a good title makes a prospective reader curious about what the story is about, rather than tell them outright.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? The first time I heard my daughter tell her friend, “My mom's a writer.” To have my children acknowledge that made it real.
Do you really, really want a dog? Yes and no. I have Sam the cocker spaniel and he's all I need right now. Being a strong animal welfare advocate, I firmly believe a person should only have what they can afford to properly take care of. I think you should be realistic about it, too. I'd love to have a couple border collies but I don't have the time, energy, or finances to properly train them, exercise them, or care for them. So, yes, I want them. But no, I probably won't get one any time soon.
What is your strangest habit? I don't know if it would be a habit or a superstition but I have this white plastic egg from one of the grandkids toy food sets that I'm very weird about. It's been rolling around on the floor of my kitchen for over a year – and I can't pick it up! It rolls under the cabinets, under the table, under chairs, and I've come to accept it as part of the home décor. I don't know why I feel so strongly about it – I probably need therapy. Don't mess with my egg.
When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought? Bad hair day.
What’s a saying you use a lot? No, Casey! My 18month grandson – Casey – is quite the handful.
Have you ever eaten a crayon? Hasn't everyone?
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? My daughter ate a dead bumble bee...does that count?
What is your heritage? Irish
If you could see anyone tomorrow (dead or alive), who would it be? My mom and dad. They died twelve days apart fifteen years ago. I'd like for them to meet all these great-grandkids they have. I think they'd really get a kick out of watching them grow. I'd like to hear how many times they can say “No, Casey” in any given day.
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