Do you have a writing mentor?
I do, and her name is Denise Vitola. She is my editor, my teacher and has become a very good friend over twenty years, and I’ve only met her in person just once!
How did you come to meet her?
About twenty years ago I tried to publish my very first novel, The Ruby Amulet. To be honest, I knew nothing about the industry. I didn’t know about hiring an editor, grammar, or preparing the proper query letter. I was so green it was ridiculous. One agent was kind enough to tell me that “I really needed an editor to go through my submission.” Figuring I had nothing to lose and no idea how to even begin this, I got the guts to call her and asked her for some suggestions and she gave me three editors. I happened to pick Denise first, called her, and the rest is history. What I love most about Denise is that she is a teacher as well as an editor. She gives me homework if she thinks I need to explore and learn more in an area – it could be character development or plot development. She personalizes everything to your own work. I recommend her to anyone who wants more than a simple proofread on their books.
What authors do you admire, why?
I admire anyone that writes a book, finishes it, takes the time to get it edited, formatted, and creates a professional cover. I love people who have goals and stories and ideas they want to tell. There are a host of “well known” authors I love, as much as many indie authors I love.
I don’t know if I would have wanted to know how hard it was to become a writer and be successful. If I were to have been given any advice, it would have been to “start sooner.” Maybe I would have been in a different place had I got the guts to do this twenty years ago. But then again, I’m extremely active on social media and that’s only just come up the past five – ten years or so.
How do you carve out time for writing along with work, housekeeping and taking care of those that you love?
It’s not easy. I basically beg and scream for time. And then I feel guilty that I beg and scream. It’s a crazy little cycle.
Do you get up early? Lock yourself in a room on Saturday?
When I’m deep into a book, writing and not editing, I have no choice but to figure out how to get this done. Writing is like an itch and you simply have to scratch it and when you don’t, it can be torturous – at least to me. I tend to write on the train to and from work and at lunch if I don’t have any meetings. When I’m home, I tend to write in the evenings, after everyone goes to bed, but I’ll be honest, I’m tired by then. My best time to write is 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, but unfortunately, I’m usually at work during that time. My family does give me some time on the weekends, so I thank them for that.
What are three marketing ideas that have worked for you and one that didn’t?
Twitter, Facebook and Google+ have been three social media platforms that I’ve used to help me gain exposure and get my messaging out there. I’ve been exploring different advertising methods and ENT has worked for me the very best. I’ll be honest, there have been some sites that really have done nothing for me when I’ve advertised. I wish I had been accepted by BookBub as I’ve heard they can be wonderful for exposure, though very expensive. They only accept about 10-15% of submissions, so I’ll keep trying other things.
How did you build your Goggle + and Twitter lists?
Hard work! I post and tweet every single day. I follow people every day. I have never purchased followers at all. It’s really just been me and the computer connecting with people over and over again.
Your first book is known for having lots of twists and turns. Do you outline your plot before sitting down to write, or do you wing it?
I usually wing it. I know how I want to start the book and how I want to end it and a vague idea about what will happen in the middle, but how I get from A-B is usually something I have absolutely no idea of. I’ll be honest, I’m usually very surprised someplace in the middle and sometimes it even changes the ending.
Tell us about your next writing project?
I am editing a horror novel right now that I’m hoping to put out for Halloween. It’s called THE MANNEQUINS and is about a film crew that enters an abandoned mansion and disappears for the next fifteen years.