What does success look like to you?
The comments and reviews of my book have exceeded my expectations. Although I haven’t yet found commercial success, my novel was well-written and well-received by those who have read it. The personal messages have warmed my heart. I am so thrilled to sign copies of my book, which is available in paperback, as well as an ebook. I’ve signed copies for friends, relatives, and former classmates. That feeling is priceless and means more to me than the money I have earned from the sale of the book.
What is your favorite genre to read? What genre do you write in?
I write women’s and family fiction. These are the genres I enjoy reading the most, and it’s not surprising that I feel most comfortable writing about families and their struggles and successes.
How did you get started with writing?
About a week before I retired from the healthcare field in December 2019, a coworker said I should start something from my bucket list. I immediately replied that I would write a novel. I wondered why I answered so quickly and so definitively, as I hadn’t thought seriously about writing since my teens, but I decided to explore writing. I took a few online writing courses, and started the first chapter of my book in mid March 2020. I expected to spend the rest of the year experimenting with writing a novel, but when COVID-19 led to a quarantine and cessation of nearly all social activities, I concentrated on writing. I wrote for a few hours every day, and finished my draft in about ten weeks.
How do you make sales as an author? How do you attract new readers?
I’ve become very active on social media—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It is difficult, because there are so many great writers, and great books are being published every day.
Do you connect with any of the characters in your book?
The main character in my book, Meredith Perkins, was inspired by some events in my life. Although her situation and hardships differed from mine, I was able to conceptualize and write about some of the emotions I felt during my own hardships. I became a stronger person after my struggles, and so did Meredith.
What is your favorite comfort food?
I make great macaroni and cheese. It’s a food to eat slowly and savor.
How do you come up with plots or characters for your book?
For my first book, I often thought about character development and plots while lying in bed at night. Of course, once my mind got going, it was difficult to turn it off and go to sleep! But not everything was planned—some situations and plot twists in my book came as a surprise to me too, as I sat at the computer and watched my fingers on the keyboard. In fact, the title of the book came to me shortly after I finished the draft. I stepped away from the computer and did some yoga exercises, and during the relaxation phase at the end of the exercise, when my mind and body were relaxed, the title came to me.
What do you like to do for fun?
I am a bicyclist, and often ride 25 to 30 miles. It energizes my body and clears my mind. I also play Mah Jongg, practice yoga, and take piano lessons. Of course, I love to read.
What advice do you have for new writers just starting out?
Don’t give up! I’m about to turn 64 years old. I never expected to write my first novel at age 63, especially since I did not get a college degree in a writing-related field.
What projects are you working on right now?
I’m planning to participate in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November, where participants are challenged to write 50,000 words in November. It’s a lofty goal, but I wrote my first novel of more than 80,000 words in ten weeks, so if I push myself a little more, I think it’s doable.