As an adult, I am addicted to both reading and writing, and read and write in several genres.
I love the NF research involved in each fiction book I write, and usually spend more time in libraries or online researching than I do in the actual writing or revisions.
I started out writing fantasy, then moved to historical fiction, then back to fantasy, and I also recently published my memoirs involving animal encounters. However, if I want to relax with either writing or reading, my preference, hands-down, is fantasy.
2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
Interesting question, Janet. I’ve always been a dreamer, as in making up or wishing for other worlds. I’d like to say that fantasy chose me…simply because that sounds more magical. In reality, I like to let my mind wander to different places, different worlds, meet different characters. It’s more about who I am than about choosing.
3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?
I’m willing to try any genre I can think of. Time is my biggest writing quencher.
There is only one genre I rather stay away from, and that’s erotica. If I tried to write any of that, my face would heat up the room, and by having my eyes closed as I typed, it would be page after page looking like this: ljrio4atj;rguilshrgf and kjaweihughgli4u834, too!!!
4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?
Although, I really like learning new things, so I find NF research equally as pleasurable.
5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing,
I grew up in big-city Cleveland. When I started teaching in Wisconsin, I discovered wilderness areas and was bitten by the outdoors bug (not meaning mosquitoes, but yeah, I got plenty of those bites, too). I’m married, with two “boys,” and three grands. We camped, tons. In tents only, because we couldn’t afford any other vacations. I’ve had drivers’ licenses from seven states. My main paid profession: teaching. But I’ve held dozens of other jobs.
I’ve been storytelling as long as I remember. I actually preferred to be outside than inside sitting still and doing things like reading or writing or even watching TV. As an older kid, I’d write stories for my friends.
My first paid article was published when I was in my 20’s, but all the time, I was writing fantasy “on the side.”
6. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Oh. I hate you for that question!
I’d have to answer that my favorite is my present MC – a 15-year-old boy named Aldric. With this guy, I love him to pieces most times, and other times I could throw a boot at him for being so stupid! He’s my favorite because I’m cheering for him to win, to reach his goal, to be happy for the rest of his life. Will that happen? You have to read to find out.
7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?
Of course, there are villains, in my books, as well as in real life.
When I first started writing villains, they were distant and either brief encounters or out of sight. But later, I got up close to these vile characters. Sometimes I think that I’ve created a real good baddie, and then someone in real life does something to me which is really, really bad. It makes me realize 1) how sheltered I live, and 2) how honestly creepy some people are.
Luckily, in life, and in my books, 95% of people are either good or indifferent. But those 5%...
8. What are you working on now?
Why, thank you for asking.
I wrote a fantasy with that guy mentioned earlier, and didn’t want to let him go, so began to work on a series involving Aldric and his friends. The first book, War Unicorn, is a one-off, and has rather become like a prequel for the series. The first book only covered two countries and two months. The series covers five countries and three years. I’ve found myself tag-teaming the books as I think of things needed in each one, and work on one for a while, then go to another to make sure there is either set-up or follow-up. It’s confusing even to me at times. I used to write from cover to cover. Not so with this series.
9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?
I was at a writers conference several years ago when an editor challenged us to think of a character who is very much out of character. My first thought was of a cute, sweet, rainbow-loving unicorn. Flip the coin, and you get a rude, demanding, uppity unicorn.
I also read lots of folk tales. Rings or other pieces of jewelry come up quite a bit. At first, I was afraid to write about a magical ring (think LOTR), but then all those short stories nudged me otherwise. Yes, there is a magical ring in War Unicorn which is detrimental to its plot.
From those two seed-ideas, I tried to see how much trouble I could get my MC in.