Tell us about your latest book.
My latest release is called Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas. It’s really two stories that intertwine. The main story is about Georgie – she is a twelve-year-old girl who loves to dance but has to stop taking lessons when her family moves to a new town and can no longer afford to send her. Instead, she spends her time baking pies to bring to her grandmother at her nursing home. There she meets her grandmother’s roommate, Eve. It turns out that when Eve was a young girl, she was a ballet dancer and trained with Georgie’s favorite dancer, the world famous Paulina Strofsky. Eve’s story is the second story. Eve goes back in time and tells stories of what it was like to dance with Paulina. Throughout the book, Eve’s and Georgie’s stories alternate as their friendship evolves.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I’ve always loved the ballet. I took lessons for many years and my daughter now is a dancer – she takes ballet, but her favorites are jazz, lyrical, and hip hop. Originally, the story was going to be about the competitive dance circuit (something my daughter is involved in) – but as is usually the case, once I started writing, the story went in a completely different direction.
Who and what inspire you to write?
I write from my daily observations, which usually involve my children. They provide a great and constant stream of material.
Each author has his or her own inspiring journey. How did you begin writing?
I’m still trying to figure that out! I’ve always been a numbers/math person (who loves to read). In fact, I’d always gone out of my way to avoid writing and English classes in school. In college, I took Calculus IV for fun (and it was). For years I worked as a tax accountant. About sixteen years ago an idea for a story popped in my head. I tried to ignore it, but it kept nagging at me. Three or so years ago, I decided to start writing it down. As my husband likes to say, “I drank the Kool-Aid.” I stopped doing taxes last year, and I don’t miss it at all.
What has been the most pleasant surprise about writing? How about an unexpected down side?
The most pleasant surprise is when I get direct positive feedback from readers (who aren’t my parents!) It sounds weird, but sometimes I forget that people actually read what I write ... then to hear that they enjoyed it, too? That’s still just mind-boggling to me. An unexpected down side? Well, since I like the part about having others read my work so much, I have to spend a lot of time marketing. That takes away time from writing. Some days (a lot of days) it takes away too much time. It’s all about balance, which I’m still figuring out.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Coffee and silence are my two biggest things. I can handle a little white noise in the background if I absolutely have to, but definitely no music where I know the lyrics or melody. That throws the whole flow off. I can’t multitask to save my life.
Do you write your books in order?
Funny you should ask this. For the Nate Rocks series I just finished – yes, I wrote the books in order. But for a new adult series I just started – The Wishes Series, I’ve got a detailed outline of book one, ideas for books two and four, and book three is about half way done. Strange I know.
What is on your writing playlist for this book?
Nothing!! See question number 6 above. :) But ... if I were someone who could listen to music and write, then for this particular book it would probably be Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, since ballet is a major theme, and Eve’s story involving Paulina talks about The Nutcracker in particular.
Any favorite writing snacks?
I am a big snacker, but when I write, I don’t usually eat. I only drink coffee. When I break, however, I’m not picky – sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy ... It’s all good!
What advice would you give writers who aspire to be published?
The biggest thing is not to be discouraged. If you are looking to go the traditional route and not having any luck or finding it may not be the best fit for you, then look at going indie. There are so many options for writers today. However, if you do decide to go indie, and you decide to self-publish, the best advice I can give is for you to take your work as seriously as possible and hire professionals where necessary in order to put out your best end product. This means getting a professional cover made, utilizing beta readers and writing groups, hiring a qualified editor (and understanding the different types of editors), hiring someone to format your book if you’re not able to do it yourself, putting together a marketing plan, exploring PR opportunities, and making a commitment to continue to develop your craft each step of the way. (And truthfully, many of the above hold true for those going the traditional route as well).
Are you working on anything new right now?
I’m getting ready to publish the fourth and final book in my Nate Rocks series called Nate Rocks the City. I expect it to be out sometime in February. After that, I’m taking a break from children’s books temporarily to work on the series I mentioned above, an adult contemporary series called “The Wishes Series.” It is a story about three sisters and is (at the moment) comprised of four books. My plan is to have one book about each sister (“Ava’s Wishes”, “Holly’s Wishes”, and “Tessa’s Wishes”) and one book that pulls them together called “Woven Wishes.”
Who is your favorite character in your current book?
In the Wishes Series, I’m still in the very early planning/writing stages, and I’m finding a little bit of myself in all of the sisters, but I feel an extra special connection with Tessa at the moment. She’s the youngest of the three sisters and her life so far has been a bit of a rollercoaster.
What is your favorite book of all time?
I always hate this question – how do you choose? I have so many books that I’ve enjoyed reading over the years. One of my all time favorites is To Kill A Mockingbird, but I also loved the Harry Potter series, and I’ve read some great indie books lately, too – including a steampunk series called The Crown Phoenix Series.
Tell us in one sentence why we should read your book.
Because we all had dreams as kids, and sometimes those dreams are right in front of our eyes - we’re just not looking in the right places. (P.S. Encourage your kids to read every day, reading rocks!! ... I know two sentences, sorry!)