Highlights from Recent Interview Questions

With the release of two drastically diverse books in the last three months, I have done my share of interviews for blogs, pod casts and radio. Therefore, I thought I’d hit the highlights of some of the more unusual and interesting questions that were varied from the traditional set. So, this is more of a compilation of various interviewers in no particular order.

Since I know where all the names came from in the EVE series, how did you decide which character had what name? Additionally, once names are chosen, how do you determine what character plays what role?
~Some of the character’s personality is similar to their namesake while others differ greatly. Most even have the same physical appearances as their namesake. Yes, a lot of the characters in my EVE series are named after people in my life, but not all. However, in writing, the characters pretty much take on a life of their own regardless of their namesake and they dictate where the story goes. In deciding which character had which name, a large majority were given the same role/character that they play in life…ie, Jocelyn’s friends, former teachers, etc., but a few were named after family members. But then again, I also have a character named after my dog!

How did you come up with the whole story in general?
~The premise for the EVE series was born out of a very odd dream I had about having the gift of EVE (Essence Voyager Era). When I woke up, I jotted it down, played with it a bit and it grew from there. The premise for the With Honors series began as a humorous antidote between my husband and me from the days when I was in college in my early thirties.

What/who inspired you to write these (EVE series) books?
~The inspiration for the creation of the EVE series was my three teenage children and their strong love for the imagination of something just a little beyond their own existence. I hope I have written my manuscript(s) in a fashion that would appeal to this particular genre’s ever-changing reality that translates into the adult world and allows them to melt into a world grounded in reality yet makes them ponder their own perception of reality.

What’s one question you’ve always wanted to be asked (as an author) and haven’t yet been asked?
~To be asked out by Gerard Butler!!

Do you feel like society judges you for writing your With Honors series?
~I know that some do and that’s fine. Some have even misunderstood the plot, taken the premise to seriously, and the sarcastic or quick-witted comments literally. It happens regardless of the genre. Plus, I think this particular genre has come a long way in the last 25 years and is not looked upon as harshly as it once was. And I’ve learned that I cannot please everyone. Some people may look down upon what I write, but I would rather they read my novels first before judging me.

What is your mindset in writing the With Honors series?
~Since both my series are written in first person from the MC’s point of view, I try to put myself in Alex’s shoes, walk in her footsteps and portray her as truly and as honestly as I can. She’s far from perfect, but she is a strong, independent, and loving mother who tries her best in all she does. And while some may not agree with or even like what she does, I try my best to remain true to Alex and not everyone else.
~In my With Honors series all the psychology principles my MC uses to train her young lover, Mason and enhance their sex lives are real and truly work. I have a BS in psychology and have taken numerous classes on human sexuality. I had so much fun researching these principles, combining them, testing their validity, and creating the scenarios for Alex and Mason. They are a wonderful couple and bring about the best characteristics in each other.

How much of your characters, namely Alex and Jocelyn, reflects your personality?
~I believe there is some part, be it good or bad, that seeps into every authors characters, consciously or sub-consciously. It just sort of happens since we do give life to them. My close friends have told me that Alex is closer to my personality than Jocelyn, but I believe that’s solely due to the fact that Alex and I are much closer in age…obviously. I am not saying I would do the same things as Alex, but I have the same mischievousness for pranks and a bad habit for making sarcastic remarks as she. Jocelyn, on the other hand, reflects my great love for sports and my constant thirst for knowledge. However, many of her core personality traits are more influenced by my daughters than me.

Do you find it difficult to switch between two drastically different series?
~Not really. I love them both and each is a refreshing distraction from the other.

Your EVE series has such an extensive cast of characters, so much so that you’ve included an appendix in the back of Enlightened. And now you have the entire new cast from the With Honors series. How do you keep them all straight?
~Yes, there are a great many characters in my EVE series, so many so that I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve had to create poster boards for each time period as well as a separate board that serves as a timeline for all the characters who have been blessed with the gift of EVE. So far I haven’t had to do the same for the With Honors series, but I do have extensive notes on each of the characters.

If you sit down with a friend, what is your favorite topic of conversation?
~That depends…what are we drinking?

What’s your greatest fear?
~Heights

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
~Still writing and creating entertaining stories with interesting characters, watching my daughters graduate from college and traveling the world with my family.

Five books that inspire you.
~Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
~To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
~A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R. R. Martin
~The Shining by Stephen King
~The Lord of the Ring trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien

If you could take a day off from your everyday life, where would you go?
~I would travel Europe, stay in quant little bed and breakfasts, visit historical sites and engorge myself on various foods and wine.

Tell us the one most important thing about your novels. The one thing that makes them different from all other books out there.
~My EVE series is about romance that transcends time in a different way than previously portrayed. My main character(s) have an inherited gift that allows them to live parallel lives on two separate planes of existence by falling asleep in one era and awaking in another each night.

For the record, what are you wearing right now? No, not ten minutes from now when you may have decided to switch gear. RIGHT NOW.
~Pajama bottoms, a hooded Indianapolis Colts sweat shirt and ducky slippers

What’s your favorite quote?
~“Not all who wander are lost.” J. R. R. Tolkien

What is your biggest pet peeve?
~Cold showers

Tell us something quirky about you.
~I can write with both hands.

Star Wars or Star Trek?
~Star Wars, definitely

Sunrises or Sunsets?
~Sunsets

Aside from finishing the EVE series, what other projects are you working on?
~Last summer when I started working on the final book in the EVE series, I decided to write a spin-off series, tentatively titled, The Spirit Quest series about one of the siblings of one of the main characters from the EVE series. I have done a lot of research on various time periods and have jotted down some notes regarding the premise. So far, I have only about half of the first chapter written. I had to put it away for now until I finish the final installment in the EVE series, Illumination, but am eager to pick it up again.

Life Happens…

I think I’ve lived a lifetime in the last three weeks. Life is like that sometimes, it happens when you’re not looking. Then it sneaks up behind you and bites you in the ass with a mouthful of razor sharp teeth.

In the last 21 days I spent two days in the hospital due to a really bad allergic reaction that almost took my life and two weeks later my youngest was rushed into emergency surgery because of a broken finger nail. I might even be getting a facelift because it had effects on my aging face too.

Yes, you read that right…a broken finger nail. She broke it at the quick and within a few days it got infected. On Friday I drained it with sterilized equipment and cleaned it out. I’ve done it dozens of times before back when I was still nursing and never thought anything of it. It’s sore, but heals completely within a couple days. Not this time.

Saturday morning we took her to the Immediate Care Clinic. They took x-rays, cultures, blood draws, drained it, dressed it, put her on antibiotics, and sent her home with instructions to call the Indiana Hand Center to have it checked in a week or so. By Sunday evening I went to change the dressing and saw that the infection had spread from the tip of the finger halfway down the nail.

Monday, we took her back to the Immediate Care Clinic. The doctor wouldn’t even touch her, but sent us up to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis. She was admitted through the ER and taken back into surgery. The infection had managed to spread down into the bone. So, she spent the next three days being poked and prodded by the hospital staff, but managed to come home with 95% of her finger. She was finally released Wednesday evening with a pic line (46 inches of tube running through her veins from her bicep to her heart) so I can administer IV antibiotics at home every day for the next five weeks. Plus, we get the added bonus of running back and forth to the hospital three days a week while trying to find time for work and school.

But I must confess it was rather fun call her High School and informing them that she was going to be absent all week because she broke a nail…I could just picture the administrative assistant rolling her eyes and whispering ‘drama queen’ under her breath.

I am so grateful and thankful to the amazing team of nurses and doctors at St. V’s who took such wonderful care of my baby. Not only did they take care of her, but they also cared about her. And that made a world of difference for her and me. She is slowing but surely bouncing back and returned to school, pic line and heavily bandaged. Fortunately, her sarcasm is fully intact and she is stubbornly trying to catch back up in record time.

Still, I think this little experience with my daughter has made me germ phobic. Plus, I will never laugh again at anyone who complains that they ‘broke a nail’.

After all my family has been through in the last three weeks, I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. We are happy and healthy once more. And while we will dearly miss my son who is currently deployed in Kuwait and my other daughter who is going to school in California, we shall treasure the memories of this year and be grateful for all we have.

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