A Thin Dark Line Blog Tour Interview and Giveaway!
A THIN DARK LINE
When did you first decide you wanted to write?
Some of my first memories are of sitting on my father’s lap and, at the age of three, reading to him from the children’s book Are You My Mother? I have loved words from the time I realized that scribbles on a page were connected and, when grouped together with skill and imagination, could form worlds and lives, love and loss, magic and music and something able to transport and uplift and broaden the scope of our existence. I think there is little as powerful as story. History has shown that with the tradition of tales told and recorded throughout the ages. If there is anything that connects all of humanity, it is our love of stories. Truthfully, I cannot remember a time when I didn’t love the cadence and rhythm and wonder of language. To write has been a life-long goal and dream of mine.
Did you get nervous the first time you put your work out there?
I studied the craft of writing in college, so that was extremely helpful in giving me experience with both positive and negative feedback, and understanding the need for both. Sending it out to publishers was nerve-wracking, though. I don’t think anything can prepare you for that crushing rejection letter, especially when the letter is obviously formulaic and impersonal and the publishing house didn’t even get your name correct. It took me several months after that to work up the courage to inquire at another publishing house—The Writer’s Coffee Shop, this time—and I’m thankful I did and that I didn’t merely tie up my manuscript with a twine ribbon and place it at the back of a little-used drawer. Working with the TWCS team and receiving the incredible support and encouragement that I have from them has alleviated some of the nerves surrounding the release of the story to the public. That is the most daunting of all, for me at least. I’m putting a piece of myself, something I’ve created, out there to be judged by discerning readers who have expectations when they pick up a book, even if it’s a debut novel by an unknown author. Thus far I have received the most heartening reviews, and that has certainly made a difference and eased some of my anxiety.
What is your favorite genre to write?
I grew up watching old westerns with my grandmother, and one of my current works in progress is an historical, set in Wyoming Territory in the late 1870s. I love the research involved and the attempt to portray a land largely untouched, a culture still being amalgamated, a country struggling to be its own entity, and the people who formed it.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Mystery novels were my first love. I first developed a love of suspense when I was six–years–old. I was hiding from my cousins and sister in one of the closets in my grandmother’s house when I discovered a passageway, though not so secret, linking two closets together as well as a stack of worn ‘Bobbsey Twins’ mysteries. I spent much of my childhood in that closet, by choice I assure you, reading mystery novels by flashlight. I devoured all of the Bobbsey Twins stories as well as the Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys series. Now I read whatever I can get my hands on—mystery, western, thriller, history, romance, anything. Depending on my mood, I generally either want to laugh, want to learn something, or want to be intrigued when I read. Though I will say I can never pass up a good love story.
Do you have a favorite author?
My all-time favorite author would have to be Mary Stewart. I love all of her books: her seamless blending of subtle, classy romance and breathless suspense; the rich descriptiveness of places, so much so that the settings are entities unto themselves; the strong secondary characters. I wrote her a letter once—she’s in her nineties now—and she replied with a handwritten note. I have it framed.
Is there something you want to write about, that you haven’t yet?
I don’t have even the faintest hint of an idea for a story, but I would love to write an epic World War II saga one day. I love that period of history: the quiet heroisms in the face of destroyed ideals, the sacrifices world-round, the chic classiness that still pervaded the cultures. What is one silly fact about you? If I eat something that has a distinctive color or shape—e.g., M&Ms or animal crackers—I have to separate and group them first.
Do you have a favorite character you have written so far?
I have such a hard time choosing favorites. Each character came alive for me, and it would be almost impossible to single one out as favored above the others. Different ones resonated with me for different reasons, though. Clay surprised even me with how layered he was. Adriana constantly made me laugh, but also broke my heart a little. I didn’t want to admire Saoirse as much as I did. I wish I had a Sal and Patrick, the entire Florenelli family actually, in my life. The boys were such fun. I have several Jane figures in my life.
Does that reflect anyone you know?
Robby and Harmon were the only characters that truly, intentionally reflect someone I know. Both have some of the characteristics of a little girl for whom I was a nanny.
Spaghetti or Lasagna and why?
I don’t mind either, but only my mother’s. I prefer my pasta adorned with simply butter and some spices—garlic powder, onion flakes, crushed red pepper, creole seasoning, and parsley flakes are the best combination, I’ve found.
If you could meet a character from any novel who would it be?
Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. Even when I first read the book as a child, I wanted to marry the man.
Anything you want to say to the aspiring writers reading the blog?
If you’ve a passion for writing, you can make it happen. I don’t have any sage words to offer on how to accomplish it, because writing is such a solitary, personal endeavor that’s different for everyone. But I think perseverance and discipline are essential.
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