When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do? I write. For me I tend to hone characters as I go along in the story. I always am going back and adding pieces here and there, but for the most part the story develops as I write it. I usually have the end in mind, but how I get there is always a work in progress for me.
How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book? Watch TV and try to acclimate again with the real world. I get so far removed from everything when I am in a book, that I need down time to get back into life. But it never lasts long. TV gets boring and I am usually thinking of another book to write soon after. It’s a disease.
Have you had any fun fan moments since you became a writer? Several. The best was when I was at an airport flying to Dallas and the lady on the plan next to me was reading her Kindle. I glanced over and thought what she was reading looked pretty familiar, until I realized it was my book, To My Senses. I casually asked her if it was a good book, and she seemed rather perturbed that I had disturbed her. Then, she began to go on about how much she loved the characters and how well the author had brought them to life. She suggested I read it, and I kindly told her I had, about two hundred times. She gave me an odd look, and then I told her it was my book. Her expression was priceless, and one of my lasting memories of a fan.
If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go? Dinner at Antoine’s in New Orleans with James Bond. I know, I know so cheesy, but the character from the books was smoldering, brooding and very believable, unlike the caricature in the movies. Now that would be one hell of a dinner.
Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot? A little of all three. I see the end first. I always see the end, and go from there. The rest comes as I write.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share? I am a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the La. Wildlife and fisheries, so when I am not writing I am caring for a number of orphaned and injured wildlife at any given time of the year. Right now is baby squirrel season, and I am feeding anywhere from 10-15 babies at a time. I love it!
What was the inspiration for your book? The Ghosts of Rue Dumaine is inspired by my childhood in a small cottage in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The place was very haunted, and the antics of the ghosts there were too numerous to describe. I always wanted to write a story with that cottage as the setting.
How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books? Titles are hard. I try to base it on what goes on inside the book. Still it is difficult to do.
Who would play your hero/heroine in the tv or film version of your book?
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Just keep writing. It is like a muscle that gets better with use. You discover your voice and style over time, and once you have that, you have who you are as a writer. But you can never discover those talents unless you write. So just keep writing. And there are no small jobs in publishing. Like acting where there are no small parts, any and every job that gives you a chance to put words down, is a blessing, so take it.
What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer? I am a registered nurse, and most of the positions I have held were in nursing prior to writing my first novel. But I feel the nursing experience I had was vital to understanding characters. In medicine, we see people at their best and at their worst, and I feel all those experiences allowed me to understand the human condition and bring all the sorrow, happiness, passion, joy, love, and hatred I saw to the page. I don’t know of any other career that would have allowed me an up close and personal view of the human condition. It does not get any more dramatic than the life and death situations I experienced. In addition, I met some truly wonderful people along the way. My patients told me the stories of their lives and I like to think some of those tales have made their way into my work. For that, I will always be grateful to the people I was honored to care for.