Author Interview for “The Hunting” Blog Tour

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When did you know writing was for you?

In high school, I consistently excelled in English and composition; anything literary. I even made straight A’s on grammar and identifying parts of the sentence! It was so easy for me. The sad thing is I didn’t even think about majoring in it in college – I still can’t figure that out. I was an art major.

After a crazy, bizarre journey through ill-fated marriages, raising four kids, and keeping my head above water until they were grown, I finally had time to breathe. I wrote a letter to the editor. He liked it. I got a call. “Do you want to do a humor column?” YES! Do I get paid, I asked? “Of course not!” I did it anyway, and to my delight, people LIKED it. I had a following. I got recognized in grocery stores! (Okay, so the town was really, really small, but whatever). I got hate mail! That’s when I knew I’d arrived. I was hooked. That was in 2009. I started writing “THE HUNTING” in 2011.

How would you describe your books?
Fast-paced. Engaging. Funny. Realistic. Probing. Tear-jerking. Clean. Elements of suspense. Elements of romance. Uplifting. Hopeful.

At Hampstead Book Fair! Build that fan base!

At Hampstead Book Fair! Build that fan base!

I typically write about women who have major issues, but are blind to them and thus begin a journey of consequences and self-discovery. (Somewhat like – cough,cough – me.) They may fall into a huge pit they’ve dug for themselves and someone else must pull them out; or they clamber out of the darn pit by themselves. My first book was written almost on auto-pilot as the words came pouring out in a torrent. My second book is moving more slowly because I’ve tackled a subject I haven’t exactly lived, but know so many women who have. So I’m doing more research for backstory. Since I’m a debut novelist, I’m not exactly sure where my keyboard-pounding fingers will take me, but I’m pretty sure it will have to do with flawed female protagonists that wrestle with life. Or their kids, or their men. Either way, they have serious wrestling issues.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Organization and structure. I’ve had enough writing instruction to know that there are major plot points and scenes that attach to each point and character arcs to consider. Trust me, I’ve even scribbled the illustrative diagrams in my notebook. I know that the protagonist must fall into major despair and then be pulled out only to be pushed back again and almost killed, metaphorically or physically, before final resolution of the story. I know all this. I do. But I struggle with making sure it’s all included, so my initial outline is kind of a scrawled, haphazard work in progress. I am much more organic in how I write, but I do visit the outline now and again.

What are your favorite genres to read?
Interestingly, I love murder mysteries and stories about the criminal mind. (Yes, I love the show “Criminal Mind” too!) I’m a sucker for all those cop shows. But since I’m clearly devoid of the inner workings of police or detective work, I just cannot bring myself to write in that genre. All my stories, however, have cliffhanger, suspense stuff going on.What do you want readers to take away from your story?
That there is always HOPE no matter how dark the night. That we are never alone, not really. A dark, long tunnel is just that – a long tunnel. There is always light at the end of it. Additionally, laughing at ourselves and realizing we are just sojourners made of clay is a huge help in wrestling with our adversaries. A little humility goes a long way, and a hand reached out for help takes humility. It’s good to ask for help. Especially if it’s from God! Prayer works.

kerry book fair dec 2013How important do you think social media is for authors these days?
Oh so VERY impossibly important. I was overwhelmed at one point, had a long talk with myself and decided I would choose four, major on those, then go from there. Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. Goodreads. Plus, an author website is important and it should contain a blog. One that has relatively recent posts that are interesting to the author’s genre. On my personal back burner are Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr. I found my publisher on Twitter through relationships I’d developed there, and my website designer through LinkedIn. LinkedIn has incredible writer groups that run the gamut of information. It is imperative that authors have a basic understanding and relationship with social media. I’ve barely scratched the surface.

What would be your advice to aspiring writers?
1) Find a local critique group. They are invaluable! Plus, other writers have connections you may need. Use them!
2) Attend book fairs and writer’s conferences. Such a depth of information! You’ll meet authors hawking their books that will share first-hand information and also agents that sometimes will critique a sample of your work. Don’t be shy,ask!
3) Look for opportunities to improve your craft. Local community colleges offer many types of writing courses at reasonable rates. Many are at night, if working hours are a problem. Online courses are an option, but for me, the community is important as well as the skill. Seek to improve your writing via any route you can find.
4) If you’ve finished your masterpiece, ask your writing buddies for the name of a good editor. A good editor is invaluable. LinkedIn has thousands. Try to get a recommendation. Hire an editor before submitting your manuscript.
5) Persevere. Your success may be right around the corner!

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