1.What is your earliest memory of writing?
When I was about 8 or 9, I had a notebook where I would write short stories. But I kept them to myself. It took years before I let anyone read my work.
2.What do you think makes a good story and why?
A good story always has compelling characters with lots and lots of conflict. Without conflict, the story would be boring.
3. What are some of your favorite books, tv shows, movies?
Favorite books: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, El Bronx Remembered by Nicholasa Mohr, Daughter of Fortune by Isabelle Allende, and the Romana Series by Beverly Cleary. TV Shows: Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Outlander, and The Crown. Movies: The Princess Bride and Rocky.
4. What inspires you?
Most of my inspiration comes from personal experiences. But I also get inspiration from reading the news and having conversations with people.
5. Tell us about your writing process.
First, I like to get to know my characters by writing up a scene in a coffee shop or a court scene and asking them a series of questions to help me discover their traits. The second thing I do is write a loose outline. I don’t get too detailed. I write a summary of each scene as I see them occurring. Once I do that, I’ll write a draft. Then I put it aside for a few weeks before I rewrite it.
6. What is the most surprising thing you have learned from writing?
What surprises me the most about writing is how much of your subconscious mind lands on the page and what you discover. One day, I was writing a scene, and I noticed that I was writing a lot about baseball, and I didn’t understand why because I didn’t follow the sport much. So I decided to explore why everything I was writing had a baseball scene. Then it hit me. When I was a kid, I used to love watching the Mets. But because I was a girl growing up in the 80s, I was teased for liking sports and stopped watching them. I would probably have never rediscovered my love for baseball and the Mets if I didn’t stop to evaluate why I was writing about baseball.
7. How did participating a Writers Guild Initiative workshop help your writing?
It gave me a safe place to share my work and give me the confidence to write again. It also helped me learn how to write a screenplay which got me into the Veteran’s Writing Project.
8. How do you make time for writing?
A lot of people confuse typing for writing. Writing is also reading, taking courses, doing research, and think. So I write every day. However, I have a writing schedule where I sit down and type four about four hours a day, five days a week. Setting a time to write is like going to the gym. If you make it a routine, it becomes a habit.
9. Do you have a “writing quirk,” if so, what is it?
I need to drink lots of coffee while I write. I’m also terrible at grammar and a poor speller.
10. Any advice or tips you’d like to offer?
Learn as much as you can, make writing a habit, and surround yourself with other writers. Even the most successful writers have as much anxiety as you do. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are and build on them. Part of the reason why most people don’t sit down and write is fear. Acknowledge the fear and write anyway.