Jena’s Choice was the last book I had published and I Paid to have it done. In the process, I retained all rights and the publisher created a great cover, used larger print and set the price at a fair amount. I also received 50 copies of the book; selling them covered my cost. Although Jena’s Choice published last, it was my first. Because of that, it received a greater number of rewrites. Many of my readers consider it my best. I just finished my fourth novel and I am searching for an agent. I am hoping the controversial title will attract an agent and a traditional publisher. The title: “WHITE NIGGER” is a contemporary novel dealing with racism. River Rose’s mother disappears while River and her half sister and brother are in the care of Ivan Severs, a black man. When one of her mother’s men friends accosts River, Ivan retaliates then packs them up and they leave Oklahoma. They settle in small-town Iowa where the school bully taunts River. The taunt “White Nigger” follows River in school and out. (The taunt ‘white nigger’ was used here in Iowa.)
2. What started you writing historicals?
I have been researching Native Americans for years. That research lead to Jena’s Choice. History was my favorite subject in school and I have always enjoyed reading a Historical.
3. Where did the idea to use a doll at books signings come from?
In the process of a rewrite, I was intrigued by fashion in1869 and that led to creating a doll to display the image of Jena and clothing style of that time. Most of all I needed an attention getter for a book signing, it worked.
4. How do you overcome or avoid “writer’s block”?
If I am blocked on a story line I imagine I am in a beautiful spot and I use words to draw a picture of what surrounds me or I spend a few hours doing a jigsaw puzzle. Both are relaxing and usually that is all it takes. If the problem persists and a rewrite does not help, I pick up a good book and leave it for a time. The problem with those puzzles: they are addicting.
5. How/why did you start writing reviews?
What better way to get your name out to the public. Writing reviews is also a great way to hone your writing skills and, now and then, it entices someone to read my novels. Those reviews have led to friendships. I have made many computer friends that way and in the process met some great still-unknown authors.
6. What tips do you have about writing reviews?
First, read the book. Don’t give away the plot but do tell readers enough to grab their interest. Mention the author’s other material and if you enjoyed the book, say so.
7. What is your writing day like?
We are still involved with our own business, and I am helping to put on the 41st International Edsel Club Rally in Omaha, NE. I recently signed a contract with an agent but between the phone, creating raffles and keeping RA at bay, I have started book 5. When I can’t be at the computer, I keep busy building on the story line in my head.
8. Who influenced you the most in your writing career?
The person that made the comment in the pages of the ‘Writers Digest’ to stop reading about writing and sit down and write, prompted me, made me get serious about writing a book. It also helps that I have my families support. Without my loving husband taking over so many of the household chores, it would be difficult to find writing time. All the great writers that I have been reading for years helped also.
9. Tell us about your 50 Edsels.
We have Edsel strung all over central Iowa; started out with one and they just seemed to multiply. Edsel have that in common with rabbits. My husband does not trust banks or the stock market so we invested in Edsels. (Edsels have not been bothered by this economic down turn) Because of our Edsels; we have traveled, made friends across the country and through it all we have had a lot of fun.
10. Tell us something about your part of the country – we love travel.
Iowa is a warm friendly state beautifully green in summer & spring, abundantly colorful in the fall and blanketed with cold white snow in the winter. Iowa is home to flat plains perfect for growing crops, gently rolling hills graced with crops or filled with grazing livestock, and to beautiful scenic high cliffs and deep valley’s. Visitors are never disappointed with time spent here and many travel back to Iowa each year to enjoy our marvelous state fair.
11. Chat about your pets – we love those, too.
There are no pets. It keeps Scotty busy just taking care of me. Forty years of RA has left me with constant challenges. Over the years’ my mobility has diminished along with a bunch of ordinary, day-to-day skills. Besides Scotty doing all of that, he works to keep my mind off the pain.
12. What is your favorite southern setting in a book
Wow, I can’t imagine a more perfect setting than that white-pillared multi-roomed southern mansion or a deep cave hidden among the rugged peaks and valleys of a ridge of mountains. I always thought those Cliffside dwellings would make a great setting for a murder mystery. My advice to writers is “If you dream of writing, stop dreaming and start writing. Face each day with a spirit of adventure: even negative experiences can bring positive results. If you are bored – read a book. If you are lonely – read a book. If you are depressed – read a book. Remember, what ever problem you face, make a book your drug of choice.”