Tell us about your publishing journey…
I kind of took the long way ‘round. When I completed my very first manuscript – this is over ten years ago – I sent it off to a number of agents. Imagine my shock when I received an offer of representation from an agent I’d actually queried her in error. (Her one-agent shop was listed as not currently being open to queries.)
The book went on submission, but didn’t sell – which didn’t surprise me. (Which begs the question: Why on earth did I query it when I didn’t think the manuscript was ready?) Then the agent passed away. I didn’t bother to query the next couple manuscripts I completed. For my mystery, CLEMENTINE’S SHADOW, I sent out some queries, but ended up deciding to self-publish – in part to push myself to create a website and to get involved on social media (I LOVE twitter!). I also self-published my second adult mystery, ERASING RAMONA. With my next manuscript, I changed things up a bit and wrote a contemporary YA suspense, PUNISHMENT SUMMER. Then I took part in Pit2Pub, an online Twitter pitch contest where you pitch directly to publishers. Evernight Teen accepted the book and PUNISHMENT SUMMER was printed in October of 2015. A month later, as the result of another contest, Query Kombat, I connected with my new agent, the wonderful Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency.
What do you love about being an author?
I love creating flawed, but relatable characters, and layering in some sort of puzzle or mystery in their story that hopefully engages the reader. When the words are rolling, it’s a rush.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
That’s tough. There are characters I’ve “known” for years like Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone. While I love reading about her, she’s rather prickly, so dining with her – especially when you consider her penchant for peanut butter and pickle sandwiches – probably wouldn’t make my list. I think hanging out with Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole might be fun – the character has a sense of humor and seems pretty easy going – at least when lives aren’t on the line! His character works in Hollywood near Musso and Frank Grill, so I imagine we’d eat there. Since I’m vegan, I’d order veggies while Elvis had a club sandwich.
If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
Nicki – Abigail Breslin
Grandpa – Keith Carradine
Wild Bill – Jeremy Renner
Todd – Logan Lerman
Cecilia – Jane Alexander
Since I don’t know the names of any German shepherd actors, I’ll leave finding a suitable dog to play Queenie to the casting director.
Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?
In books, I’m more a sexy lead fan, but in movies, give me the blood-hungry monsters!
If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?
I wouldn’t. I think each year and decade things get better for women. Going back in time would be enormously constricting!
What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
Unclench and breathe!
If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
I’d be Fae. They’re long-lived (which is nice) and seem a benign group. So many supernatural creatures seem to want/need to harm humans!
Where do you write best?
For drafting, I do my best work at my desk. When I get to editing and rewrites, my favorite spot is the swing in our backyard.
What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?
A friend recommended Liane Moriarty’s books. I started with The Last Anniversary and, as soon as I finished it, downloaded Big Little Lies. Moriarty’s a wonderful story teller and there’s a mystery at the core of each tale.
If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?
If I didn’t write mystery/suspense, perhaps historical fiction. I enjoy reading other genres – fantasy, magical realism, humor – but I also love doing research and historical fiction would certainly tap into that!
Where can fans find you online?