Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
I’ve been obsessive-compulsive about writing since I was eight years old and figured out how to work my mother’s old manual Smith-Corona . . . maybe I’m just a typist gone mad, but I really enjoy the physical work of being a writer. I love being alone with my thoughts and planting them on the page.
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
I’m also an actress. Trust me, the pay is better, even the hours, and I belong to several actor’s guilds. Writing is a lonely business and no one cares how long and hard you sweat to deliver the goods . . . but I love it. And it’s the perfect antidote to acting, which is a collaborative craft. Writing is, as I said, a lonely business, but it’s all you and completely original.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I’ve been a book publisher (Pomegranate press) for 29 years, publishing nonfiction entertainment subjects. I know the business well and I have also fully embraced all the new digital platforms of publishing. My nonfiction backlist is available on every app you can think of. But for my first novel, I chose to go with Montlake. I like their style, and frankly wanted their expertise in marketing fiction. I didn’t want to publish my own work of fiction because it meant entering an entirely new market place that was unknown to me.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
My husband, a wonderful editor and magazine publisher (founding editor of Los Angeles Magazine) passed away, but I still feel his presence in my office when the sun goes down and it’s dinnertime. If I worked late, he would stand at the door of my office and flick the lights, a signal to pack it up for the day. He knew brutal deadlines and was so understanding, but he also knew that burnout was the price one paid for working too long, too hard. Now that he’s gone, I appreciate even more the times when I closed my office door and spent time with him.
This is for pet lovers. If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
Daphne, my cat, runs the house. You would have to ask her.
This is for plant lovers. If you don’t own a plant, skip this question, but if you do, are they actually still alive?
I’m a farmer’s daughter. Plants, like animals, come first. (Come on!)
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
I have the luxury of time. I live alone now, with Daphne as a companion. She often sits in my lap as I write. If the phone rings, I’m thrilled to answer . . . and if there’s any excuse to go in the garden and dead-head flowers, I jump at it. I never stop thinking. Writing isn’t just typing.
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
As a publisher, I once got a call that a shipment of books was delayed from the printer to the warehouse. They were in Indiana on an overturned truck that was also delivering frozen pies. Don’t ask.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
I don’t understand printerest. Is that what it’s called? I’m always alarmed when a friend says they sent me something on a social media network and I didn’t respond . . . believe me, you will never find anything even remotely personal about me on social media. Would I stand on a stage in an auditorium and tell personal secrets to strangers? Why would I do that anonymously on social media? Let’s have coffee, just you and me, and talk about that.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
I’ve already screamed myself hoarse about selling my first novel! But I am also completely blown away that Krikus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist gave my book great reviews. It’s tough enough getting reviewed, but then to rate the trifecta . . . wow.
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
I have already alluded to it . . . writing is a lonely business. Every time you sit down in front of the blank screen, your craft and creative juices are being tapped in aid of your story. The gift of being able to tell your story as you want it told is such a privilege it makes everything else involved in the struggle worth it. Most other performance and creative endeavors are collaborative, but writing is one of those sole enterprises . . . what an amazing high it is to see your book published, your work appreciated!
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