What inspires you to write?
The challenge of telling what I hope is an exciting and engaging story inspires me. I see myself as a storyteller. Growing up listening to the radio, I pictured in my mind the people and stories I heard on the radio. My world was full of stories from the radio, mysteries, comedies, westerns, and facts about our nation and world. I view life as a combination of ever-changing tales to be shared and enjoyed.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
Writing historical fiction combines my love of history and my desire to bring the past to life in a compelling story. I believe that historical events come to life through the peoples’ lives not recognized by the history books. Fictional characters or the ordinary people of the era are the very ones who make the past alive.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
It seemed that traditional publishing was closed to me as a first-time author. Also, being older, I wasn’t sure I had the time involved in a conventional publishing challenge. Indie publishing seemed my best option, and I went with a firm that began the publishing journey with a professional evaluation of my manuscript to assess if it had merit. As a first-time author, I wrestled with whether my book was worthy of being published. My first book was published when I was seventy-five by a Canadian firm recommended to me as producing a good quality book for authors. When it was time to publish my second book, a traditional publisher offered me a partnership to publish it, but I chose to go with the company that did an excellent job on my first book. I looked into publishing through Amazon but was unsure that I had the computer skills to accomplish it.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
What has worked for me is knowing that I have given my best effort to each book while writing and editing it. I feel my second book is more substantial than my first because I have tried to learn and grow in my writing skills. I have found that I can now see my writing more objectively and edit more wisely. Writing like everything is a process of becoming more skillful over time.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
My latest book is a sequel to my first book, The Deadly Five. In my latest book, I complete a gold rush story about five men searching for gold in the Fraser River Gold Rush beginning in 1858. In the first book, the five men end their search for the winter of 1859. The sequel, The Second Five, begins in the spring of 1860 when the search for gold continues along the Fraser River. One expects adventure, action, greed, conflict, and the struggle in a gold rush story—all the action centers on the historical events of the era. The uniqueness of the tale is that the five characters are flawed but memorable and prove true friendship is better than gold in life. The Second Five includes a lovely Maggie Kelly and a bluetick coonhound to enrich the lives of the five men and the readers.
Do you listen or talk to your characters?
My people hold a special place in my heart, and I feel sad when they are rejected or scorned. In a sense, I listen to my characters’ feelings because they must speak the words I think they would say as the real people. When writing about historical characters, I carefully research what is written about them or what they have expressed or written. Hence, I portray them as honestly as history has described them.
Who is your favorite fictional character, and why?
My favorite fictional character is Tom Sawyer, with Huckleberry Finn beside him. Tom captures the life of a boy who dares to push the rules but still captures the hearts of those around him. Huckleberry Finn had no choice in having an abusive father but succeeded in life despite it.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned as a writer?
As a weekly newspaper columnist for the last twelve years, my greatest lesson as a columnist has been coming to terms with the complexity of society today and a sense that everything is changing. People tend to feel life is out of their control. As a result, people seek a column that encourages a sense of security. As an author, I see periods in history when people felt life was uncertain and felt that gold or other power would give them protection. My books are about people finding security and hope in each other as they face a chaotic world.