1.What is your earliest memory of writing?
I do believe everything of substance began when I was 12. We lived in Jefferson City, Missouri at the time and I remember having a diary that had a lock. I got to keep the key. I wrote all things down in that little book and relished getting a new one with my saved allowance money. I wrote stories about what happened during my day at school or the antics I got up to with my two brothers and sister.
2. What inspires you?
The resilience of people overcoming what I may see as impossible odds. I’m emotionally far removed from my own struggles until I share them with someone. The books I read are about queer women who continually come to terms with their sexuality in an environment that inherently tries to silence/destroy/kill them. As an Air Force veteran, I’m also drawn to books about queer military women veterans. The men/boys never wanted (and still don’t) women/girls to play with their guns and be better at it for goodness sakes!
3. What do you think makes a good story?
Effective tension makes a good story. The tension between the main and supporting characters helps the reader learn who these people are. I don’t write effective long-winded angst. It’s not my way because I want my characters to be a bit more forthright somehow. That can be difficult at times. The main character(s) have an obstacle that needs to be overcome at some point and the tension between characters and location should help that plot along.
4.What are some of your favorite books, tv shows, movies?
JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books are at the top of my list. I have to mention the Bible because my favorite Sister of the Immaculate Concepcion order gave me my first Bible in a brown paper bag at a girls’ retreat when I was in elementary school. “If you read it with an open mind, this is where you will find God.” She said. Like a lawnmower over a tall-grassed lawn, I devoured that book. In my later years, I attended a seminary that I may learn to read in the original text(s). There is a myriad of other books that are my favorites but I’ll suffice to share that they exist in the fantasy and sci-fi genres.
TV Shows? I’m a fan of the BBC police procedural ‘Vera’, the comedy of the show ‘Miranda’ and Masterpiece Theatre’s period pieces. Then there’s ‘What Happened to Elizabeth’ that reminded me of my father’s struggle with dementia until his death.
I’m a woman of a certain age! There are loads of ‘favorite’ movies. However, ‘Captain Marvel’ on the big screen, is still my favorite. What’s not to like? Female fighter pilot wronged by the people she trusted and saves the planet from annihilation!
5. Tell us about your writing process.
I write loads when the pen screams my name. I don’t use a device to write. I write with a fountain pen on lined or unlined paper. When I feel the pen scratching ink across the page I feel the story come right out of me and it’s the best feeling in the world. I prefer to do that early in the morning but if I’ve spent the better part of the night and wee hours of the morning in a book I just can’t put down, then my writing comes towards the end of the day. I must admit that I had no writing practice towards the end of 2020 because I was a caregiver for my father and then being with him when he died. Now, when I write it’s to empty whatever’s been locked within my mind and heart.
6. What is the most interesting thing you have learned from writing?
That I genuinely enjoy putting a story on paper. There’s the usual angst that I need to take the time to sit down and write.
7. How did participating in a WGI (Writers Guild Initiative) workshop help your writing, (if so)
The workshop helped me continue to believe that I could write and share my writing with other writers and readers. I gained the courage to submit the pieces I wrote to the publication’s op-ed segments and writing contests.
8. How do you juggle writing with everything else?
I don’t juggle very well. I consciously and continually ask myself do I want to take the time to binge a BBC period piece, read a book, or write! I get the household goings-on out of the way because I need a clean living space to create a story.
The best thing I’ve done is set a timer for my writing. I learned it from one of my seminary professors. I give myself 60 minutes to put something on paper. At the end of that time, I walk away. If I can’t walk away I set the timer for another 60 minutes.
9. Any advice or tips?
I’m a solitary person but I’ve found my Zoom writing group encourages and focuses me on my writing. So, attach yourself to a writing group and write. Also, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2019 and completed a novel I’m still editing. It was a challenge to myself and I surprised myself for not just writing throughout the month but completing a book!