It is who I am. I’ve always been very imaginative. Most people daydream about TV shows that they like and take the place of their favorite character; I created my own characters that entered the show in my daydream and changed the direction of the plot. I remember watching Dark Shadows back in the late 60’s. My character’s name was Shannon Marie. She was one of Barnabas’ sisters. She knew what he had become and loved him anyway. When their father caught her trying to help him, he disowned her and erased all mention of her in the family history. Shannon used magic to become immortal until he could be free from the curse. Angrily she disappeared until Barnabas was released from the coffin. She then returned to Collinwood.
Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I always wanted to help cats. My father hated them so I wasn’t allow to have one as a child. I once told my mother that when I grew up I was going to have a hundred. I do have ten not a hundred, which is enough. But I do cat rescue. One of my dearest dreams is to help create the nation’s largest no-kill shelter. Every book of mine that is bought brings me one step closer to making that a reality.
What do you love about being an author?
I love giving my imagination free reign. Of telling myself tales that I just happen to share with others. It is a way of exploring my inner world and the universe beyond. By allowing my characters to act and react, I heal my old wounds and show others how to do the same.
Is there anything you dislike?
The editing process. The long rewrites. Creating the story is easy. Making it readable to others takes time and hard work.
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
If you tell me how to do that, then we will both know. I have a tendency to be a bit compulsive and a workaholic. It is easy to get caught up when you love what you do.
How do you write?
I write on the computer. However, I do make hand written notes. I’ll get plot ideas or pieces of dialogue and I’ll quickly jot it down. The third novel is not only in my head but also on a stack of pieces of paper.
Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
I’ve done both. Mostly I start with the characters. However, with the current project, I started with the plot.
What genre(s) do you write?
I write magical fantasy and science fiction. I am following in the footsteps of Anne McCaffrey and Marion Zimmer Bradley. I submitted a story to MZB many years ago. I got a handwritten note from her ripping me a new one about my print size and style--she also said I was capable of doing better. She told me to get to work and do what I was capable of. It was good advice.
Why do you write the stories that you write?
I like fantasy novels. Both McCaffrey and Bradley introduced me to female characters who were strong and capable. They didn’t just yell for help; they helped themselves.
What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
That it is exciting and easy. That all authors are famous. Writing isn’t just about writing. Even when you create your own worlds, you have to do a lot of research. It is time consuming and tiring. It you want to make your work believable, it has to be based in reality.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I take pieces of people and put them together to make characters. You might call me Dr. Frankenstein. But instead of body parts, I put together character traits and personalities.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
I like them all--even the ones who are not so nice. Even though, I take pieces from others, there is some of me in all of them. Hum--I wonder what that says about me?
If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
I have writing two screenplays: Never Can Say Good Bye and Eye of Ra. I wrote Katherine Hepburn a letter requesting that she take part in one of the projects. The grand woman she was, she wrote back, thanking me for the offer but she had retired and wasn’t taking on anything new. I would like to see Goldie Hawn play Rachael. The character was some what modeled after her. Demi Moore would play Carmen. Whoopi Goldberg would play Raven. There are also characters in the last book for Angelica Huston and Tina Turner. I sent Angelica a copy of Awakening the Dragon through her agent, hoping she would like it enough to endorse it. It would be a major Yule gift if she did. There is also a character that is mentioned in Dragon Domain that will have a larger role in the third that would be good for Adrian Paul.
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
There are two things. I would like people to have a clearer understanding of what earth-based religions are so they can release their fear of the stereotype. Secondly and more importantly is that we can all get along when we come from respect. We don’t have to look, act or believe the same in order to find common ground. If we respect each other and ourselves, we can find a way to live peacefully.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Read what you want to write and just plain write. Also you need to be curious about the world. Ask questions. Study everything. You never know when you are going to run across that one piece of information that will inspire you. They also need to be ready for hard work both during the writing and after. Promotions and marketing are the most important aspect of making a book successful. You could have written a fabulous book, but if people don’t know about it, it will just gather dust. Writers need to be wary of unethical publishers and agents. There are many who make grandiose promises to get you money, but never carry through with their obligations. I was caught by two such publishers. They had an issue about paying royalties. It is the reason I started Valkyrie Publishing. Not only do I publish my own work, but also I am a consultant who helps other authors prepare their work for the printers, create covers and help with publicity. It is easier and cheaper to publish and distribute than most people think.
Who are your favorite authors?
Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey. Dragon Riders of Pern is the book that started me on the fantasy path. There is also a warped little novel by William Nolan called Space for Hire. Imagine Sam Spade in the future. It is silly, warped and totally wonderful. Twenty years after I first read it, I spend twelve bucks on a used copy just to be able to read it again. It’s out of print but if you can find a copy, it is worth every penny.
What are you reading right now?
Ripples on a Cosmic Sea. It is about gravitational waves.
Can you tell us where everyone can pick up a copy of Awakening the Dragon and
Both are distributed by Ingram and Baker & Taylor, so they are available through most bookstores. In addition, they are on Amazon. However, two things about ordering online. The previous versions are still listed. Please only buy the new versions that have been released by Valkyrie Publishing. They both have the Dragon Clan Trilogy listed in the title. Plus, I have my own store through Amazon. It’s listed as Easternguardian. When you buy books from me, I will autograph them. The direct link is can be found here.