1) Your Journey as an Author…..I dreamt of being a writer for as long as I can remember. This childhood vision consisted of me slaving away in a charming attic studio, while the rain pounded against the windows, and the steam wafted from the mug sitting at my elbow. I have always loved books, and (like all writers) am pretty introverted, so I spent my childhood reading. I spent a lot of my life wanting to be a writer, but never doing the actual work needed to get anywhere. Day-to-day adult responsibilities soon took over my life, and writing creatively (I work as a paralegal, so I do write at work.) slipped further and further out of reach. I did tinker around and wrote a handful of bad novels, and even went so far as to secure agent representation, but nothing ever came of it. Flash forward 20 years when I met my husband, a talented artist in his own right, in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I am originally from.
He was homesick and wanted to live nearer his parents. So when he asked me if I would move to Mississippi with him, I said yes! (This is true: He promised to buy me a horse if I moved with him. He kept his promise.) Relocating to the South was a huge uprooting for me, and while I was sad to say goodbye to the friends, restaurants, bookstores, and libraries I had frequented my entire adult life, I embraced my new adventure, especially since I was being handed a golden opportunity to bow out from responsibilities and write. I now consider myself a full-fledged, real life writer, and I will never quit. Writing is now a priority for me. I am so grateful that I was given the time and the opportunity to pursue this dream. (My husband gets a lot of credit for this.)
So I went to work and wrote three crappy novels in the course of two years. (I burned them. They will NEVER see the light of day.) I’ve always loved the Gothic fiction from the 1930s through the 1970s. (Think Georgette Heyer, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Mary Stewart, Dorothy Eden, and the like). Those were the books that I reached for, those were the books that I found myself reading over and over. I set out to create the Sarah Bennett Mysteries with those type of books in mind. I really love writing about an era where there are no cell phones or computers, and revisiting a time when people were much more connected to one another, both individually and as a community. I hope that young readers who pick up a Sarah book will visualize what it was like to live in a time before everyone was so plugged in. As a writer, this is really important to me. In many ways technology is a good thing, but we got along without it. It’s important to remember the past, and how things used to be.
2) What reading means to you…..A lot of my feeling about this question is encapsulated in my writers’ journey question above. Reading means the world. It is the thing that keeps me sane. Reading is my sanctuary, my intellectual comfort food, if that makes sense. We don’t have a television, and although we do watch shows via Netflix on our computer, my husband and I are both readers. The world would be a better place if more people read.
3) Whats next for you…..Book three of the Sarah series is drafted, and I am getting ready to edit it. (I let my books sit for a while before I start the editing process.) I hope to write at least another three Sarah stories. I also have a passion for middle-grade literature, and hope to do some collaborating in 2017 with a really talented writer in that genre. I also have an idea for a mystery series featuring an older woman, which takes place in the UK. Research trip! I love this job….