Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I wrote my first children’s book for a school contest when I was six years old, winning the Young Author’s award in my grade level. By age fifteen, I had been published in the Writer’s Journal. I knew back then I wanted to be a writer, and while I spent the better part of my adult life as a professional writer and journalist, being a novelist is new. I currently have three sci-fi books as part of a trilogy, one cozy mystery novel and two yoga books for kids and teachers.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is called If I Didn’t Care and is set in Manhattan in 1997 at the height of the tech boom. It’s a cozy mystery inspired by accident, when I sat down to write after having a very bad day. I jotted down a few lines about the lead character, Rue Brennan, having an equally unpleasant day. 1200 words into it, and I thought, “You know? There might be something here?” Since I love both campy romantic comedies and old-school detective movies, this book allowed me to blend the two.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I write out of order. That is, when I sit down to write, nothing is ever from start to finish. I begin with whatever scene or character happens to be nagging me that day. Later, I go back and re-arrange, and re-write as needed, along with making a few creative edits to stitch it all together. While it seems like more work, it actually helps with the flow of my writing.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
It was my husband who got me hooked on books by Terry Pratchett and Neal Gaiman. I particularly love Pratchett’s humor and world-building. As for my books, they have been compared to Erma Bombeck and Douglas Adams.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently finishing up the audiobook for If I Didn’t Care, which features award-winning narrator Graham Mack, along with myself and my husband in a multi-cast recording. I’ve also begun working on Pennies From Heaven. It’s the second book in the cozy mystery series — same world, but with new lead characters.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Sites such as Pretty-Hot.com do a wonderful job at helping support indie authors. What works best for me is a hybrid of written and broadcast interviews, book promos through Amazon and social media campaigns, garnering book reviews, and my website: BirdlandMediaWorks.com
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Yes. While it’s always good to have beta readers and trusted friends and colleagues to help critique your work and offer insight so that you can grow as a writer, don’t second guess yourself or your talent, particularly if you receive a manuscript rejection or a bad review. Your books may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and some people simply won’t understand your persepective…and that’s okay. They’re not your audience. Recognize that you have something to share with the world, and hold the belief that the right readers will find you.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Interestingly enough, it has everything and nothing to do with writing! My mother used to tell me when I was a kid and had a fight with a friend of mine, “Don’t put anything in writing. Talk to them face to face.” Back then, writing was on pen and paper vs. email; but she was right. You can’t take back an angry email, and sometimes messages get lost in the translation when you can’t hear someone’s tone of voice. To this day, I try to sort out misunderstandings, face to face. I’ve maintained lots of good relationships that way.
What are you reading now?
Lots of textbooks surrounding Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Emotional Intelligence, actually! I also work as a Board-certified Positive Psychology Health and Wellbeing coach and write a lot of educational content in that arena.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I have two more books I’d like to write in my current mystery world before I re-visit my original Acting Out Yoga series. I want to write one more in that series around mindfulness and meditation for kids.
What is your favorite book of all time?
I can’t say that I have a favorite book of all time, but I can tell you my heroes growing up! I absolutely loved all of Beverly Cleary’s books and later went on to read books by Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters, not realizing at the time that Michaels and Peters was actually the same author writing under pen names that reflected two different genres!