Pre-Interview : I am the mother of 9, author, publisher, and musician. My five-book series The Blue Bells Chronicles, is a tale of time travel, action and adventure, romance and redemption, ranging across modern and medieval Scotland--the story of a modern, arrogant musician who gets caught in the days of Robert the Bruce in medieval Scotland.
My other books include a collection of history and recipes based on the series, a book on creative writing, a collection of new music in the style of jigs and reels, and a record book for music students. I've appeared on TV, blogs, radio, web radio, and in newspapers. I currently live in Minneapolis with 6 of my 9 children, two cats, and a 'small' 107-pound Irish Wolfhound such as might have once roamed the castles in my novels.
I am also the co-host of Books and Brews with Laura Vosika and Michael Agnew.
1.What inspires you most to write? There are stories and 'people' in my head that need to get out.
2. What is your favorite genre? Historical fiction, time travel, and stories with a mystery to be unraveled.
3. Who is one author you admire if any and why? CS Lewis--he was able to write on two levels, telling easy to read stories that gave profound truths. I also really like Dick Francis, who was able to tell one great story after another all within the same world of horse racing. I enjoyed learning from him about a world he knew well.
4. How do you overcome blank writing spells? I really don't have blank writing spells. I have many things I want to write about. My biggest problem is the distraction of the internet.
5. What legal publishing advice can you give? Look at your options and weigh what you value most--getting published quickly, being published by a big name, the potential for income?
6. How many books have you written, are any a bestseller yet? 9: 5 in the Blue Bells Chronicles series, the accompanying collection of history and recipes associated with that series, a workbook on creative writing called A Few Thoughts on Creative Writing; a collection of my musical compositions in the style of jigs and reels called Glenmirril Garden; and a record book for practicing musicians and students to improve their playing.
7. If you had the opportunity to rewrite one movie script which would it be, why?
8. What are some difficulties you've experienced in your writing career; how do you handle book critiques/criticism? My real difficulty is just finding the time to write these days and the time to market. I don't look at critiques and criticisms because I learned with the first one that sometimes critiques have nothing to do with the book itself.
9. What are your best experiences in your writing career? The many wonderful people I've met as a result! This includes readers and other writers.
10. Do you prefer to write in silence and or have some sort sound in the background? Definitely Silence!
11. What are some encouraging words you'd give to another author/writer? Write from your heart. Write because you love to. Let your characters speak and act. Write every day. Be prepared to re-write and re-write some more.
12. How did you decide the pricing of your material; how did you go about promotion/advertising and distribution of your work? I originally kept my books at $2.99 because it's that spot where the author gets the 70% royalty, but readers still buy. I did increase the price on eBooks because mine are much longer than my books being sold at that price and involve a great deal of careful editing and expensive research trips to Scotland. I also felt, on principal, that we as authors are collectively telling the world that all our work is worth 99 cents, when many people are willing to pay 30 or 40 for less than two hours at a movie.
13. Why should anyone read your book? I'm biased but I have the backing of many good reviews! People seem to especially like the people in the world of the Blue Bells Chronicles--Shawn, Niall, Amy, Angus, the Laird, and to find them very real and three-dimensional, including the villains of MacDougall and Simon Beaumont. But I think people also really like the history behind the story and the research I've put into it. Apart from the main characters, virtually everything in the books, down to some amazing details, is historical, such as the story of the washerwoman on the battlefield, the events of the Battle of Bannockburn, and even the haunting of Livestock Castle and the sewers under Carlisle, which come into play in one of the books.
14. Did you have a book coach? No.
15. What was your favorite subject in school? Band and English...in that order.
16. Are you self-published or have an established publishing contract elsewhere? I'm published through Gabriel's Horn, which is a publishing company a writer friend and I created originally as an in-house publisher for our writers' group, although we've now branched out and published many other authors, too.