Age or birthmonth (whichever you feel comfortable giving … if at all)
Born in October (Libra) and I’m 54!
City of current residence
When did you first begin writing
Why did you start writing
I’d attempted once before but let it go. Before she became my daughter in law, Trish F. Leger, asked me to read something she’d written. I was so impressed that she’d actually finished something that kept me up all night reading. I decided I could do that. I sat down and started writing and haven’t stopped since. Trish and I are both self-published, now.
Why do you keep writing?
Because the characters in my head wouldn’t let me sleep if I didn’t. I started with two people and it’s snowballed into a series and a spin-off series! Plus, I need the money!
Who is your favorite author?
Hmmm…so many. I adore Catherine Anderson, Robyn Carr, Linda Lael Miller…I like contemporary cowboys and U.S. Marines, so, there ya go!
What is your favorite book?
Little Women/To Kill a Mocking Bird are pretty much tied for classics. There are so many favorites that stand out in today’s world. “Blue Eyed Devil” by Lisa Kleypas, maybe.
(Old) To Kill a Mocking Bird (Gregory Peck…man, oh man, what talent!)
(Older) A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim
(Newer) I know all the lines to Steel Magnolias and My Big Fat Greek Wedding so….
Love me some James Otto for country music. Marc Broussard is a Louisiana boy who’s also a favorite. They both have soulful, bluesy voices that melt my butter. I graduated in ’76 so I love me some Doobie Brothers.
Genre of music?
Mostly country, but I write to instrumental classical or the SPA station on Sirius radio.
Love to cook and bake. I’ve done some beautiful Gallery Glass projects in the past but it’s been years.
I’m a trained Computer Aided Drafter, but I quit my day job back in March of 2012 to write full time.
I used to draft plans for road construction projects…now I plan the lives of all the characters living inside my head!
I used to get up at 5:30 am to be in Lake Charles, LA by 7:00 every morning, now I write from the comfort of my bed or couch at home in Kinder.
Definitely…to my God send of a husband, Michael, for 18 years. It’s the second marriages for both of us, and we appreciate each other so much.
I have three of my own, a son and a set of twin girls, and two step-children, a daughter and another son, who I couldn’t love more if they were my own. They have given us ten beautiful grandchildren whom we adore.
Just the hubby. Our porch cat, Matou, was the last and he passed away.
What is your favorite book that you’ve written?
I’d have to say “Brown Eyed Girl”, because I adore the character of Scott ‘Red’ McAllister. He is the epitome of underlying masculinity and sexiness in a man, IMHO, anyway.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I’m diligently working on book two of the Halos & Horns series, “Sarah Smile”. I’m hoping to have it out by the middle of January 2013. I don’t have the book cover yet.
Family supportive of writing?
If so, give examples (moral support, attend book signings, actually read it for you …) My husband used to call my writing “an expensive habit”. I’d be writing in one room and he’d come in, turn on the t.v., try to talk to me, etc. until I’d get up with my laptop and leave the room. Once I self-published and actually began making money…boy did things change! Now, he quietly refills my coffee cup and goes into another room. He doesn’t read my books but is my sounding board. I’ll read passages to him and he gives me his opinions. My mother, on the other hand, was passing my manuscripts around to all the little old ladies in the Gueydan Garden Club and the Ladies’ Alter Society, and began introducing me as “my daughter, the author!” long before my books were in print. My family all reads them, attends signings, my hubby hauls books around for me, and passes out my cards and pens wherever he can! I call him my card pimp!
Do you belong to any writing groups – (please list along with website) If so, how has being a member influence/helped your writing?
RWA , and they don’t have any groups near me. The nearest is the Baton Rouge Heart of LA, and I attend functions with them and SOLA in New Orleans, so I guess I should join. I was a member of Bayou Writers’ Group in Lake Charles, and have met some wonderful people there, but they are geared more to writers of poetry, memoirs, and inspirational authors…of which I am none of the above. Good, talented people, though.
How many manuscripts completed / book published?
That would be seven…eight by the time this column is released.
I have five books published in my first series, La Fleur de Love:
1) Some Day Somebody
2) Last First Kiss
2.5) Hart’s Desire
3) Brown Eyed Girl
4) Heaven in Your Eyes
One book in my spin-off series, Halos & Horns:
1) Green Eyed Temptation
2) Sarah Smile (Middle of January, 2013)
My Cajunflair Publishing imprint company published a Christmas anthology called Hearts, Hearths & Holidays: Book 1 of Seasons of Love series. It’s a collection of Christmas themed short romance stories by seven authors of different genres. Mine is a contemporary romance called “Bells Will be Ringing”.
a. Title Sarah Smile: Book two of the Halos & Horns series
b. Blurb Sarah Richard is a mother of twin infant daughters, trying to live down the violent past and trauma caused by her dead husband. Her awesome new ‘family’ is there to help her every step of the way.
Dr. Tanner Collins may never live down his past: Tiffany McAllister’s ex-cheating fiancé…womanizing playboy…chick magnet…born rich and arrogant thanks to his parents. What does a guy like that do when he finds his thoughts overtaken by a wounded single mom with two adorable baby girls? He tells himself he’ll never be worthy of a girl like that. But…is it true?
Will fate find a way to bring these two lonely souls together…or will old habits and life continue to hamper their chance at happiness?
Release date? January 16th, 2013
Where is it available at?
Amazon.com (Kindle and paperback), Barnes and Noble (Kindle and paperback) Books a Million (online)-
Any upcoming booksignings?
Not yet, but I’ll let you know.
How rewarding has writing been for you?
Extremely. I have the satisfaction of making my family, children, and grandchildren proud, leaving a legacy for them long after I’m gone. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet some truly wonderful people.
What has been your most memorable experience as a writer thus far?
Holding my book in my hands for the first time. It was only a proof, but my oh my…what an experience.
How has your life experiences influenced your writing?
My first book, Some Day Somebody, was chock o block full of personal life experiences…with names, locations, and dates changed to protect the innocent…and the guilty. Of course 90% of it is pure fiction. My life wasn’t nearly that exciting. It is a work of fiction. But if I hear or see or experience something interesting or funny, there’s a good chance it’ll end up in a novel! For instance, in November, my book club and I traveled to Baton Rouge’s Heart of LA for their Annual Readers’ Luncheon at Juban’s. (My third) After the luncheon, our group sat at Juban’s lounge, The Atrium, drank a little and visited with everyone there. The bar tender, a very sweet girl named Meagan, was so gracious and helpful that I told her I’d name a character in my next book after her. Not only do I have a barmaid/college student character named Meagan in “Sarah Smile”, but she will be getting her own book in the future!
How long has it taken you to get published?
I am self-published, but it took a good three, nearly four years, for the rejection letters to be encouraging enough to even think about self pubbing. At that point, I took a class by Margie Lawson, suggested by a critique partner, and decided I needed to rewrite the three and a half books I’d previously written. As I finished each book, I began to dabble in self e-pubbing. I made lots of mistakes with the first two, that’s for sure, but I’m improving all the time. I hope readers, as well as other writers, will be patient with me.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really. At times it gets pretty busy at my house. With all five of our children living in the same town, we get frequent visits from grandchildren. I love to cook for the group, also. I tend to stay up late at night so there are no interruptions. I also bought my husband some wireless headphones so he can watch and listen to t.v. while I’m in the same room. I can write anywhere, as long as I have a hot cup of coffee next to me…or lukewarm…or even a little on the cold side. As long as it’s not de-caf!
Do you write on a schedule or when the mood strikes?
Even self-published, I give myself deadlines, so I write as much as I can to fulfill those. I write every day unless major holidays get in the way. Thanksgiving and Christmas were particularly grueling for me this year, as far as deadlines were concerned. Especially since I had knee surgery, then promptly got a head cold and couldn’t write a paragraph without falling asleep! Since it’s passed, I’ve been writing at least eight hours a day or more, trying to catch up.
What advice can you give for other aspiring authors?
Sabrina Jeffries and Claudia Dain both gave me good advice once. Persistence is KEY to writing success! Never stop writing and never stop learning to write.
What should aspiring authors watch for?
I’m not sure how to answer this. Trends, maybe? I know paranormals are hot right now, but I can’t get myself to jump on that bandwagon. I know sex sells, also, but I still want to write something my 86 year old mother won’t be ashamed of. I guess I’d say to watch out for any life experience that you can put down on paper and turn into an intriguing story.
How do you handle rejection letters?
I handled all rejection letters…just like the occasional bad reviews…as a learning experience. If something isn’t working, change the query letter or the story.
What do you do with them?
Oh, they’re in files somewhere on my computer, I suppose. I don’t purposely save them, I’m just bad at file house cleaning.
What is your favorite research tool: website or book?
Websites…definitely! I’m very much a Google, Yahoo, WebMD fanatic!
Do you listen to music when you write?
If so, who do you listen to?
The Spa Channel on Sirius Radio or Classical Instrumentals. Soothing, relaxing, no lyrics…just music.
Do you plot or are you a “pantser”? Define for readers
I start out with a basic outline for the storyline. I know how I want it to begin and end, and what the major pitfalls will be for the characters. That’s about all the PLOTTING I do. From there on, I’m writing by the seat of my ‘pants’ (Pantser) to fill in the gaps. Sometimes, if I create a character I think is interesting enough for his/her own storyline in a future book, I’ll stop to ‘plan’ their future so I can work in a few necessary details to the Work In Progress.
How do you create your characters?
Sometimes people I meet, sometimes just off of the top of my head.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, what have you gotten out of it / how helpful have they been? How long together as a group?
I don’t have a specific ‘group’. I have several people I’ll send to for editing, critique, personal opinions. Some suggestions I take, some I don’t.
What kind of things do you look for in a critique - basic grammar, plot, POV (Point of View) problems, etc.?
Grammar of course, POV shifts, dialogue, for sure. I’m a dialogue freak so it has to sound natural to me. Showing instead of telling. Using the senses to set up the scene. (If it’s cloudy, does he smell the rain in the air? If it’s thundering, does she feel the low rumble?) Short choppy sentences. Can you combine them to improve the flow? If it’s a historical, which I try never to judge or critique, is it historically accurate? I despise editing or critiquing historicals…I don’t write them because I don’t want to do all that research. Eck!
How do you break through writer’s block?
I published five of my own full length novels in one year (80,000 words or more). I don’t get writer’s block, I get writer’s burn-out! The cure for that is to give myself at least a month long break between books now. I’ve decided not to write more than two full length novels and a couple of short stories a year (for the Seasonal Anthology)
Do you have any techniques for character development that you'd like to share with your readers?
They each have their own file. I know their birthday, education, job, the kind of car they drive, what kind of music they like, what their relationships with family members is like, not to mention physical characteristics.
How much time do you put into developing secondary characters?
Not nearly that much, but I do know the basic details about them.
Do you have any tips for marketing/promoting for newly published authors?
Go to conferences…you meet great people there. Twitter, Facebook, Review sites, blogs, group promotions work well especially for FREE books. Putting my books for free has made the difference for me. Use any opportunity that comes your way. I leave pens at my doctor’s office. I brought a manuscript to a James Otto concert and had him sign it for me. (It was named Last First Kiss after one of his songs of the same title.) After I published the paperback I sent him and his wife a copy. He did a web piece on it and I was featured on theboot.com in May of 2012, I think and he put it on his website. There are always opportunities out there. Take advantage of them.
The Christmas Anthology my Cajunflair Publishing company published garnered 5 STARS and a Crowned Heart from InD’tale magazine recently. Check it out at www.indtale.com (It’s a review website for Indie authors and publishers)
FYI, my talented, fifteen year old granddaughter, Cathryn, designed the fleur de lis logo for my publishing company. I told her I wanted a fleur de lis that incorporates love and happily ever afters in it. Isn’t it fabulous?
How much of you is in your heroine?
Quite a lot in Carrie from Some Day Somebody, and a few books that follow.
Is your heroine the "you" you'd like to be?
Somewhat…she did things a little smarter than I did back then.
Where did you get your idea for your hero/heroine?
Some are from my husband, current and ex, co-workers, acquaintances and some are just purely fictitious!
Did you chose the genre you write in, or did it chose you?
I started off writing what I knew and that is women’s fiction/contemporary romance.
What were the deciding factors in picking that genre?I’m too lazy to do the research for historicals, I enjoy reading paranormals but don’t care to venture into that at this time. I prefer to write something a little more family friendly than erotica.