FAQs

Where did these FAQs come from?

This question came from me, the rest are questions that I’ve been asked by readers in person or via email, or they’re questions that were posed to me during an interview. They’re organized by category so you can scroll down and read about what interests you.

 

The Writing Dream

You wanted to be a writer since you were a child. Were you encouraged to become a writer?

Sadly, no. I was an average student and my grammar skills were not enviable. I had a teacher, bless her heart, tell me that kids like me didn’t grow up to be writers. I wasn’t sure if she didn’t think I was smart enough to be a writer, or maybe she was saying the fact that I came from a low income, and not highly educated family would keep me from being a writer; whatever she meant by what she said, the wondering about it added to my little box of insecurities that not all, but I think most children have regardless of their advantages or disadvantages.

That teacher wasn’t the only person I encountered growing up who wasn’t encouraging (or who was discouraging) about my dream of becoming a writer; anything that fell outside of the standard, teacher, nurse, secretary was considered a pipe dream, and I think my parents just wanted their girls to be able to support themselves and they weren’t artistic folk. I learned to keep my writing dream to myself, which in the long run set me back. It’s difficult to really go after something if you don’t admit, out loud, what you want. Advice I would give to young people is to do everything you can to be the best you can at what you love and talk about it with confidence and determination. No matter what your passion, go for it and find a way to make it part of your life.

How old were you when you wrote your first story and what was it about?

The first one I remember was when I was five and I didn’t actually write it; I drew it in pictures, and I still thinks it’s a pretty good story. Before I could write, I would draw stories or cut pictures out of magazines and paste them on pages to tell a story. What that first one was about? I can’t tell you… I plan to develop it into a book or screenplay someday; you’ll have to wait. 🙂

You tried for many years to sell your writing without success, what kept you going?

I kept writing because I had to get the stories out of my head, but I didn’t continually pursue agents, producers, or publishers. I would go in waves of persistence and then retreat back to writing for myself, knowing that if I never made a dime from what I wrote, I had to write. What would get me back to trying to sell my writing was my dream of getting up every day and being able to do what I loved because it paid the bills.

Considering the innumerable ways to tell a story, why did you choose to write a novel?

Honestly, I wanted to be a film maker. When I was twelve, I saw Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird; it was my favorite book and I immediately realized I saw my stories as films in my head, and I decided that’s how I wanted to tell them. I grew up in a small town in Arizona and didn’t know anyone even remotely associated with the movie business. I didn’t know what a screenplay looked like, but all through my formative school years, I wrote ‘movies’ in long hand with no formatting.

Because I had allowed my dream of being a writer to be discouraged, I went to college to be a nurse (an acceptable pursuit), but soon dropped out, got married young, and two years later had my first son. In my early twenties, I began to study screenwriting via books, classes, workshops, and conferences. By the time I realized what it took to be a film maker, I was a mom of three boys, I had a house to take care of, full or part-time jobs, and little money.

I’ve wondered how my life would have been different had the Internet been around to learn about the world beyond my back yard when I was growing up. I’ve gotten a late start, but my life experiences enrich my writing everyday, and I wouldn’t have had them if I had begun my career in my twenties. I didn’t get on the path I wanted to take from the get go, but still for two decades, I wrote screenplays.

The reality of a mom in Arizona getting an agent and selling a screenplay may have had the same odds of winning the lottery, but I tried… a lot. When I turned forty, I wrote my first novel from one of my screenplay stories and absolutely fell in love with the process. I got to be not just the writer, but also the producer, the director, and the set and costume designer. I still see my stories as a series of scenes in a film as I write, but find novels to be a very satisfying way to give my characters life.

What are your goals for your writing career?

To be a best-selling author, of course. I would also love to have movies adapted from my books and to be a sold screenwriter. At one time, I had the goal to read my work aloud to an audience, but I don’t read that well aloud, so now my goal is to have David Sedaris read my work aloud 🙂

 

My Stories

You’ve said Mackinac Island is the main source of inspiration for writing the St. Gabriel Series. Can you tell us about that?

Like Cammy yearning to visit St. Gabriel, I had wanted to see Mackinac Island for over two decades. The first time I visited Mackinac, I was with two of my sisters. We went there a few days before we joined our big Cartier family for a reunion in Michigan. It was everything I had imagined and more. We rented bikes just like Cammy and her friends did and rode around the island. And just like Cammy seeing The Lake Lodge for the first time, that’s when I saw Silver Birches Lodge for the first time. It was love at first sight; I wanted to buy it, restore it, and run it as a guest lodge. That wasn’t in the cards for me though, so I did the next best thing; I wrote about it.

Writing My Way Home satisfied my desire to be an innkeeper and live on an island, not that I wouldn’t still love to live on Mackinac and own Silver Birches, I would, but it’s in good hands. Liz Ware bought it and she plans to be open for business in 2015. Check out this link to read a press release about my inspiration and its new owner.

Why didn’t you just set the story on Mackinac Island instead of creating the fictional island of St. Gabriel?

I get asked if St. Gabriel Island is a real place often, and when I tell readers that it’s fictional, but inspired by Mackinac Island, some ask why I didn’t just set the story there. These questions led me to add a page to my website explaining why writers turn their love of, or experience with, a real place into a fictional one. Here’s a link to read all about it on my website.

You’ve been writing for many years, yet only recently has your work been published. What has happened to all of your unpublished material?

It’s waiting patiently for me to get to it. I have so many stories I want to do something with. The ones I’ve written are in different stages of completion and I have plenty of new ideas as well. I couldn’t develop all of the stories and ideas I have in a lifetime, but I’m going to do my best to make a good dent in the pile.

How do you decide what to write next?

I’d like to release at least one book a year in the St. Gabriel Series, and release an annual Christmas novella, other than that, I flow with whatever story I’m being drawn to.

How many books will there be in the St. Gabriel Series?

I feel like I could write the St. Gabriel series for the rest of my life; I love those characters and the island. But maybe I’ll get tired of it or readers will tire of it. I have seven books planned right now and can imagine those stories will lead to more books. I hope to be spending time on St. Gabriel Island for many years to come.

What genre do you consider your writing to be in?

My stories don’t fit in a single genre, which was a sticking point with some agents. I think the thought is that it’s much easier to sell/market an author that only writes mysteries, romance, etc. What I’ve been happy to learn is that readers don’t really care, at least my readers don’t.

Of the first three books I had available for sale, one was contemporary women’s fiction about a middle aged women, another historical women’s fiction about women in their twenties, and the third a Christmas novella about a family; the main characters that story revolves around are a woman in her seventies, a nine-year-old boy and man in his fifties, who’s going through a mid-life crisis.

A lot of readers get into many different genres and it seems most of my readers have enjoyed all of my books. Some of them who choose to focus on contemporary women’s fiction, have read only the St. Gabriel series and that’s great too. If I chose a single genre, I’d still have to write all of the other stories that pop into my head. I guess I could write under pen names, but the cat’s out of the bag 🙂

How would you describe your storytelling style?

The books I have out right now are pretty casual and light. Even though I deal with heartfelt issues, they’re still fun and warm at their core. I do have a few heavier stories in the pipeline that I hope to get to an audience someday, a couple of them I know I’ll write as screenplays.

You’ve talked about having written screenplays for so many years, but then transitioned to writing novels. Do you think you’ll ever write screenplays again?

Absolutely, and I never really stopped. I always have one going. I’m currently working on a comedy that I’m really excited about.

What kind of screenplays have you written?

I’ve always written what pops into my head, some of which are comedy and drama live action screenplays, for all ages. For a time I wrote quite a few animation teleplays with a writing partner that was asked/invited to pitch some original ideas to Disney, which led to pitching other studios and producers. We wrote some great stuff, including a stellar teleplay for an existing show that the head writer loved, but it got caught up in legal because a PA didn’t feed it through the proper channels, or so we were told. We did get some wee little stuff produced, but no big sales came about as a result of the animation pitching.

I’m really thankful for that time. I learned so much about the business. I also leaned that story is story and that I enjoyed writing animation, which I had never considered doing before. We got a lot of encouragement and it was a fun, eye opening, and valuable experience that I’ll hopefully write about someday.

What do you want people to take away with them after reading one of your stories?

Hope. I haven’t written a story that doesn’t end with hope. I may some day, but to me hope is the gift of the human experience. Everything good begins with hope, even love… especially love. I treasure hope and it’s my favorite word.

 

On Writing

Were you good at grammar and spelling in school?

Oh my goodness… NO! In school, diagramming a sentence was like algebra, it often made no sense to me, and it seemed to require a good memory. I have a good memory for my personal experiences, but things that don’t engage my emotions… not so much. I wasn’t taught phonics when I learned to read, so spelling was also a matter of memorization. My grammar improved when I began to have my work edited. I learned so much seeing the rules applied to my writing and having to fix it. I’m still not a great speller, however. Thanks be to Spell Check, editors, and pre-readers!!

Do you write every day and do you have a daily writing routine?

I do write every day in some form, meaning notes, dialogue snippets, etc; I’m writing in my head all the time, walking through scenes and working out story lines, but actually sitting down and tapping out thousands of words, not right now. But sadly, I don’t make my living as a writer.

I dream about being a writer who goes after it  from 8-5, five or six days a week, but my days are always different; some days I get to write, others I’m working to make a living. If I can, I’ll write for ten or more hours in a day, other days I may only get a few hours at the keyboard.

When I’m finishing a writing project, I put other things on the back burner and focus on the writing. I try not to stress about not having a consistent schedule because I can’t write full-time, as long as I’m making progress, I try to accept my writer’s life.

Do you outline the story before you sit down to write a novel?

Not usually. Once I know what the story is about overall, I start writing. I like to see where the story will take me and what the characters will do and say. I sometimes find myself in front of my laptop laughing out loud or crying; it’s my favorite aspect of the novel writing process. I can get so carried away by the story; it’s organic and full of surprises.

Do you know the ending before you begin writing a story?

Not always—when I first had my idea to write My Way Home, all I knew it would be about is a middle-aged woman who goes to an island and buys an abandoned lodge, and I knew I wanted to explore forgiveness. Where the story ultimately went was revealed to me as I wrote. It was one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve ever worked on. There are times I know the beginning, middle and end, or sometimes even just the end.

How long does it take you to finish a novel?

I write pretty fast, but it depends on the novel and my focus. Since I haven’t always been able to dedicate full-time attention to my writing, how quickly I can complete a writing project varies. I wrote My Way Home in six weeks but then spent two months working with an editor-friend and doing rewrites. Although I’m always writing down new ideas and making notes, it was the only thing I was writing at the time. If I’m just working on one writing project and life is allowing me to write full-time, I can finish most novels in six months or less, including editing; if I’m bouncing around to make ends meet, it takes longer.

How do you think up your story ideas?

I don’t really, they just show up and demand attention. I can, however, come up with ideas based on just about anything. When I was in school, I had a teacher who would have me craft a story from just a word, a situation, or an object, like a pencil; It came very easily to me and still does. Not something you can put on a resume, but a good trick for a writer.

What would you tell someone who really wants to be a writer but can’t come up with story ideas?

Write non-fiction.

You’ve said you don’t get writer’s block. Why do you think that is?

I’ve been in classes and workshops and heard other people talk about frustrations with writer’s block. As I listened to them describe their writing process, it seemed many of them were trying to write a masterpiece in the first draft. I don’t know if this is a contributor to writer’s block, I can only tell you that my first draft is a mess. It’s filled with unfinished scenes, missing dialogue, and some really bad writing, but I just keep going until I get to the end.

If I was to worry about everything being perfect or complete the first time around, I don’t think I could finish a book. I need to let the story keep flowing out and as it does, I learn things that give me the missing pieces I need for parts of the story I’ve already written, and that guide me about what’s to come.

What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Here’s the three things I would encourage…

Write every day. When I was raising my boys, I would carry a notepad from room to room and write between loads of laundry and diaper changes, and I would scribble away waiting at piano lessons or soccer practices, this was before laptops remember. I much prefer long uninterrupted writing sessions, but that hasn’t been my life for most of the years I’ve tried to establish a writing career. It’s easy to get side-tracked in life, but you have to find a way to write if you want to be a writer… right? 🙂

The second piece of advice is to have your writing edited. My writing improved so much when I began to work with an editor. Some of my work had been critiqued and lightly edited when I was in classes and workshops, but nothing very thorough. When I decided to release my first book, a friend, who had been an English teacher, was generous enough to edit the manuscript. She was ruthless and it did me a world of good. I learned so much through the process and still do when my work is edited.

Finally, let people read your work and listen to their feedback. By listening to a readers thoughts about why they do or don’t like about a story or characters, a writer’s ability to see their work more objectively comes into focus. The development of strong story elements, including arc and believable characters will grow exponentially.

Do you think it’s easier to write a novel or a screenplay and which do you enjoy writing more?

I don’t think either is easier. I can certainly write a screenplay faster than I can write a novel, but a screenplay is much more demanding when it comes to structure; it’s like a puzzle with no room for extra pieces. A lot more planning has to go into a screenplay. I don’t outline my novels. When I’m working on a screenplay, though, I could fill a small room with outlines, notes, index cards, development boards, etc. When I write a novel it’s very free flowing and organic for me. I don’t plan more than what I’ve already seen in my head. The processes are just so different, but I enjoy them both immensely.

How can a writer know if they have what it takes to sell their work?

Let people read it, and they should be folks who will give you honest feedback. Writer’s groups and classes are good places to have your work critiqued. Also, let friends and family read your work, but again, choose people who will be honest and who are interested in the type of story that you’ve written. In most cases I would say don’t ask your dad to read your romance novel. If people love your stories and can’t wait to read more, then you probably have what it takes to sell your work. If they don’t like it or you get a tepid response, I’d say listen to that. The general reading public is not going to cut you more slack, trust me.

Once I’ve determined that I may have what it takes to sell my work, then what?

Decide if you’re going to pursue a brick-and-mortar (traditional) publisher or go the indie route, either way, edit the heck out of the story you want published. There are definitely advantages to getting an agent and to being published traditionally, ie. getting your books into books stores, having help getting your work ready for publication, and of course marketing. But take note, authors who are traditionally published, but are not on the a-list, do much of their own marketing.

There’s still a stigma for those who go the indie publishing route – it’s seen as “giving up” to some, but indie publishing is anything but giving up. It’s believing in your writing so much that you’ll put the work in to get it into the hands of readers. Indie publishing is hard, but it has advantages as well. Plenty of great writers who couldn’t find an open door into traditional publishing have chosen the indie option, and some writers have left their brick and mortar publisher to go indie.

If you decide to pursue an agent to help you sell your book to a publisher, but don’t find success, why not create a quality ebook. You’ll then be tossed about in the sea of indie authors, some really great and some not so great, but there are ways to get your book noticed by readers. One of the best things about getting an ebook out is that you’ll get feedback from perfect strangers about your story.

Having my stories out in the world was a very important step for me; the people I sat next to in classes and at a conferences gave me kudos, as did my friends and family… but maybe they were just being nice, right? When I put My Way Home out into the indie world and began to get great reviews and encouraging emails from readers, it was the affirmation I needed. After years of rejection or no response at all from agents and publishers, I had begun to doubt my storytelling ability. The thumbs-up from readers was a game changer for me.

 

Indie Publishing

Can you share your thoughts about traditional (brick and mortar) publishing vs. indie publishing?

Times have changed and they’re still changing. In ten years, I think publishing will look quite different than it does today, and it looks much different than it did ten years ago, but there are still two very distinct worlds in publishing. The obvious advantages of getting an agent and selling your work to a publisher are paper and hardback book distribution, not having to do all the work of the publishing process, and having help with whatever marketing power the publisher and an agent put behind your novel.

There are advantages to being an indie author as well. Indie authors make a higher percentage on each book sold, but keep in mind you may sell less books than you would as a brick and mortar published author, although, there are indie authors who sell more than some traditionally published authors. The other advantage is getting to write what you want and the way you want to write it. A publisher gets to have the final say for most of their authors, which can be a good thing for some writers, but if you have a good story sense and at least one good editor and some pre-readers on your team, then hopefully you won’t get lost in a lack of objectivity and can put out a quality book.

What finally led you to pursue indie publishing?

After I’d been working on novels for a couple of years, I began having some friends read what I’d written. Up until that point, the only time anyone had read anything I wrote was in a class or at a conference or workshop, and they were screenplays, which are not a great read for the average Joe.

When I wrote My Way Home, I was encouraged by a group of women who passed around the manuscript that I had to do something with it; they loved it and wanted me to follow it up with a sequel. After I once again queried agents and didn’t get any response, I decided to look into indie publishing and found the Internet and the ebook were opening up a whole new world to writers and I took the plunge.

Tell me about your indie publishing experience. Did you use a print on demand company or do all the work yourself?

My Way Home was first released by a POD company in paper and hardback in 2008. It wasn’t a successful or positive experience per say, but I learned so much. The most important thing I learned was that people I didn’t know liked my book. I also learned a lot about the process of producing a book from beginning to end. In 2012, I ventured into indie publishing with a friend, who was my main editor at the time, to release My Way Home and an historical novel, WINGS as ebooks and in paperback. Along with another friend, a former English teacher, and readers from a pool of friends and family, we edited the books. We hired a designer to layout the covers for digital download and layout the books for paperback, and someone else to format the ebooks. I enjoyed this process much more, it cost less than the POD route I had previously taken, and I think I ended up with a better product.

Having used a POD company and tried independent publishing, which do you recommend?

I really like the indie publishing process, but I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. I think anyone who’s thinking about self-publishing should research their options and decide if they have the skills and interest to independently put out a quality book and market it.

How is Indie publishing different from self-publishing or vanity publishing?

Ha… I love this question. Indie publishing is a form of self-publishing, but vanity publishing… Pshaw! What published writing couldn’t be labeled vanity? Writing one’s thoughts and ideas down and then thinking someone might want to read them could be considered a bit vain. This idea of vanity could be applied to anyone who thinks what they do is worthy of someone else’s attention, whether they’re indie or otherwise. Pursuing indie arts shows confidence in one’s work, gift, or talent.

I always chuckle when I hear someone use the term vanity publishing (it doesn’t happen very much anymore, but it still happens). The stance that all good writers will eventually find an open door into traditional publishing is absurd. There are best-selling authors who self-published before they were able to get an agent and sell their work to a publisher, and there are also indie authors who’ve decided to stay indie, even after being approached by a publisher.

I find it interesting that indie film and indie music haven’t had the same criticism as indie publishing, quite the opposite, they’re considered avant-garde, even though there are some bad indie films and music out there. Indie is indie whether applied to music, film, or publishing; it’s all about artists refusing to let their talent and dreams live or die by the ability to break into established industries, industries that don’t always have the time, space, or resources to gather up all that would be well received by the public. As helpful as it might be to have a publisher behind an author, it’s more important to have readers who love their stories. In the end, that’s what validates an author, not how their book got to the reader.

How would you respond to someone who says that indie publishing has flooded the market with bad books?

I would acknowledge that indie publishing does create a pretty hefty pile for readers to sift through, and there’s some bad stuff in that pile, but dare I say everything that’s traditionally published isn’t better than a lot of the indie stuff I’ve read. Reviews and word of mouth will always bring the good to the top. Let the readers be the judge and they will be, trust me they will.

There are still a lot of reviewers who won’t review indie books and best-seller lists that don’t include indie authors. How do you feel about this?

I understand a reviewer, whether it’s a blogger or a book critic, not considering unknown writers for review. There’s just too much out there for them to be able to read books that don’t have a good chance of being worth their time, but I think that the stigma attached to not being traditionally published is what keeps a top selling indie writer from being considered for review.

As far as best-seller lists, I think what’s selling the best should be on a best-seller list, but as long as indie author’s ebooks are priced much lower than traditionally published authors, the powers-that-be who control the lists will keep independents off them. Savvy readers know this and seek out lists that include all books or they look for indie lists.

I think publishing is having some growing pains that will work themselves out in time. For now, indie authors need to do their best to work within the current landscape; there’s no use pouting about it. Indie publishing can lead to a reader following that rivals or surpasses some traditionally published authors and/or to being noticed by an agent and publisher to ultimately be traditionally published if that’s the goal. It’s a wonderful time to be an indie writer regardless of the challenges.

How do you deal with bad reviews?

I take them with a grain of salt, a very small grain. I know everyone isn’t going to like my stories or my writing style, a lot of people do and that’s what matters. I will say something about the anonymous review system. I think reviews are really helpful for readers to make book choices, but when reviews can be posted anonymously, it leaves a lot of room for bogus positive or negative reviews. I think if companies like Amazon and B&N gave readers an option to post their reviews on an anonymous board or a board in which their real name was used, most readers buying books would avoid the anonymous reviews in favor of reviews that were more likely to be legitimate.

Would you like to have an agent and be traditionally published?

Possibly, I don’t have a chip on my shoulder that I wasn’t able to get traditionally published. Maybe it just wasn’t the right time for me or just not the path I was supposed to take. If an agent and publisher believed in me and could offer me what I can’t accomplish on my own, then absolutely I would want that. But I’ll always be grateful for my indie experience; I’ve become a better writer because of it.

Having to be involved in every aspect of the publishing process from editing to marketing, has given me a business perspective of my work, it pushes me to think about marketability and to make it the best it can be before it’s in the hands of anyone else to be edited. Whether I continue on the indie path or not, I’ll always be a big indie fan, of the opportunity and the artists.

 

Publishing Indie Style

What is your process to get a book published and how many drafts do you write?

I write a first draft, then I rewrite it more than once, then I give it to my main editor. She reads it for story first and we talk about changes I should make, I do those changes and give it back to her and we both start the line-by-line editing. There isn’t a set number of drafts we do; it’s a lot. We go back and forth until we think the story is strong, the writing tight, and we’ve caught all the grammatical/spelling errors (which of course we haven’t).

Once we’ve completed our back and forth, we give it to pre-readers, which is usually three to five people. They’re reading mostly for story, but some of them have some pretty keen editing skills and they catch errors we’ve missed or might have a suggestion about the story, characters, word usage, etc.

Once they’re finished and no one objects to the working title or has a better suggestion, we get the designer started on the cover and my editor and I go through the notes from the readers, do some more read-throughs, and complete the final draft. The final draft and cover are then formatted for ebook and paperback and then proofed. There are no shortcuts to put out a quality book.

Finally the formats are submitted to the different book selling platforms, it goes live and it’s party time, which usually means a great meal somewhere and a good night’s sleep.

As an indie writer, how can I find someone to help me edit my book?

When you first start out and are not earning an income from your writing, I wouldn’t recommend paying a lot of money to have your work edited, but it’s vital to find at least one good editor to help you get your work ready for publication. I think you’ll find that there are willing and capable editors among family, friends, classmates, or writer’s groups who will do this for you for free (you can pay up when you hit it big). One of my first editors was a friend and retired English teacher I volunteered with as a Master Gardener. You just never know…

You talk about pre-readers, who are they and do you pay these people?

My pre-readers are some family and friends, who are brutally honest. I recommend aspiring authors not to use readers who can’t tell it like it is; anything short of an honest opinions isn’t helpful for any writer and especially not for an indie author. The same readers don’t read every book I write; it depends on their schedule and if they have time to read it in a couple of weeks.

I hope to someday compensate them, maybe with a story retreat to have a ‘yabberbash’ about their initial read of the project we’re editing, and of course some cash and prizes, but for now, I’m so thankful to have people in my life who like to get a first look at what I’m writing. I appreciate them so much and consider them an imperative part of my indie publishing process.

How do you do your book covers?

I have a graphic design background, so I have a pretty good idea what I want my book covers to look like. I don’t have the technical/software skills to get them ready for digital publishing though, so I work with a designer to create my covers. I’ve been really fortunate to have worked with some talented people who can see my vision and bring their own gifts to the final design of the covers.

How do you find a designer to do book covers, websites, and to format your novels for ebook publication?

I’ve been using the same web development team, goodchee.com, for my website since the beginning. They were local at the time; we now live in different states, but are able to work well together via email and phone. I designed my blog with Eric and Chelsea at www.wolfsbrain.com,(I think as of 2017, these two talents are out of web development, but I still wanted to leave this shout out to credit them  :)). They specialize in WordPress and are very creative, quick, and responsive. I found them on elance.com, which is a great place to find just about any design or techy help you might need. I’ve worked with all of the people I’ve hired through elance long distance and have been very happy with the work. I make sure the designers get credit on my novel’s copyright page if you want to see who worked on my book covers and layout.

How do you market your books?

Having a good marketing plan takes time to develop and to implement, which is a challenge when you’re not making a living writing, and need you to use what available time you have to write. But what marketing you do is most beneficial if it involves things you can and want to do (or you won’t do it) and you need to target your intended audience. Word of mouth is an indie author’s best friend, and I’ve tried a lot of things… book fairs, podcasts, radio, press releases, book clubs, writer’s groups, and networking to create it.

Some things have been more effective than others; talking to other authors, I’ve learned what works for one writer doesn’t necessarily work for another. The things I’ve done may have helped a bit, but happy readers have been the catalyst for most of the word of mouth that has been generated.

(Note: Due to copious amounts of spam, I removed the comments section from my blog. I hope to find a solution to this because it was a fun way to interact with readers). What also works for me to connect with readers, existing and new, is having an online presence and I enjoy it. I have an author website, my blog, a facebook page, and I tweet some (I’m not a great tweeter, but tweet is just a fun word, so hey, why not :)) I love to connect with readers and people in general, especially when it comes to things I love like storytelling (writing, film, reading), design, gardening, food, animals, nature, and travel. So for me, my blog and Pinterest are a joy and a way to have an online presence that’s very natural and a great deal of fun for me.

I have a design background, graphic, interior, and garden design and still do a lot of design projects, which I like to share. Because my St. Gabriel Series has a lot of my interests woven throughout and my blog does as well, blogging is a good way for me to connect with my readers who love the series and some readers have found my blog and then my books.

I think it’s important for writers to know who their audience is and go where they are. Being an older writer, my readers, for the most part, don’t hang out in chat rooms like some writer’s readers do. Writers have been launched by being buzzed-up (I just made that up 🙂 ) in chat rooms. My readers do however visit design and food blogs, Pinterest and facebook, as do I, so that’s where we meet. I’m not sure how much of my intended audience are big Tweeters, but I retweet and try to tweet some of what I’m posting on my blog and Pinterest.

I enjoy connecting with my readers because I really appreciate them, we have similar interests, and I like people. Readers write me very encouraging emails, tell others about my books, and they take the time to write positive reviews. Supportive readers are the reason more and more people are reading my books, so I do what I can to let them know how much I appreciate them by interacting with them in a way we all enjoy.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading! If you have a question you’d like answered, please send it along via the contact page. 🙂

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