Thank you for this interview. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I grew up on a farm in Robbinsdale, Minnesota and wrote my first piece when I was in second grade. My mother showed me how to work her Smith-Corona and I managed to find the strength to punch out the letters. I wrote a play about George Washington, but gave all the good lines to Martha, the role I’d set aside for myself. Our class produced it for the school. I know as an actress the applause set my heart thumping, but the fact that something I wrote was appreciated also set me on my course as a writer. I’ve been a writer/actress since I was seven years old.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
In a nutshell, it’s the story of Meg Barnes, an actress beloved for her role as TV detective Jinx Fogarty, who has it all and loses everything—and ends up living on the streets of Beverly Hills in her Ritz-Volvo—thanks to her newlywed con-man husband. It’s also a story of redemption and retribution because I couldn’t let this strong-willed, independent woman not have that ultimate moment of confrontation.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
Mystery romance provided me with a good format to tell my story, and I’m a great fan of the genre.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
Eliminating back story! I’m an actress and have such a lot of really fun detail that I wanted to incorporate . . . but I had to edit out anything that didn’t move the story along. I could probably have eliminated even more!
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
I’m published by Montlake. As you may know, I have been a small press publisher for 29 years, publishing nonfiction entertainment subjects under my imprint, Pomegranate Press, so I know this world of publishing quite well. Montlake is terrific and I am so thrilled my first fiction is published by them.
Was it the right choice for you?
How are you promoting your book thus far?
Montlake is doing a terrific job (I highly recommend them!) and I am augmenting their marketing and PR with a personal publicist, Darlene Chan. Frankly, despite my many years promoting the nonfiction books of my Pomegranate Press authors, handling PR for oneself is daunting! Believe me, “I” is so much more difficult saying than “my author.”
How is that going for you?
I’m hugely gratified by the excellent reviews by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and with all the online reviewers! My book is reaching readers, who are responding with wonderful comments.
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
Without any question, having the opportunity to address readers directly through blogs has made a great impact. One can discuss specific areas of interest and it feels so much more personal. I see an uptick in sales the moment one of my blog pieces goes “live.”
Do you have another job besides writing?
Acting. I am currently mid-way through filming a small independent feature. Also, I just did three audio recordings of original drama for Big Finish, a UK-based company specializing in recordings of Dr Who and Dark Shadows.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Invest in a publicist. You can’t write your next book and carry the burden of promoting the last without a severe case of burnout. Do what you do best.
What’s next for you?
I’m completing the sequel to Down & Out in Beverly Heels, then writing a stand alone novel I’ve already outlined. I’d also like to write a sequel to Dark Passages, a paranormal coming-of-age novel.