HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
My cat Panther and I played a game where he would hind behind the shower curtain and I would sing “Where, oh, where did Panther go?” to the tune of a song from my childhood, “Where, oh, where did my little dog go?” He would jump from behind the curtain, and I would clap my hands and say, “There’s my Panther.” Panther slipped out of the house late one evening and never came home. By noon the next day, I was worried. I stood in my backyard and sang the Panther song at the top of my lungs. Far away I heard him answer. I sang some more, and he would answer. Finally, he rounded the house to me. He had gotten lost. I used one of my great-granddaughter’s name as Panther’s owner, and a book was born.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
Panther hid behind a curtain. “Where is Panther?” Katie called before singing, “Where, oh, where did my Panther go? Where could Panther be? With his ears so short and his tail so long, where could Panther be?”
With a “Meow,” Panther jumped from behind the curtain.
Katie petted him and laughed. “There’s my Panther.”
That selection is my favorite because Katie's game sets the stage for the rest of the story.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Katie in the story is most like me since I based her on my real great-granddaughter. She and I have many similar characteristics.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
The message I hope readers take from the book is people and animals can be close friends, just as the real Panther is my closest companion.
WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
I’ve always been a storyteller, according to my mother, since I could talk. I loved hearing stories and reading. My mother was an avid reader and taught me to enjoy stories. The next step was to write the stories my imagination created.
WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING STYLE? - PLEASE ELABORATE:
This question is difficult to answer because so many writers influenced me, from the authors of the Nancy Drew series, to Dr. Suess, to William Bernhardt, to Carolyn Hart, to J.A. Jance … so many over the years. I write for children, tweens and teens, young adults, and adults. I write poetry, articles, short stories, and novels. I have a wide range of interests and sample most types of writing.
TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
Once in the middle of a novel, one of the murder victims refused to be a victim. No matter how I tried to write the scene, it would not work. Finally, I gave up and made her one of the main characters. One of these days, I will even complete the novel.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS:
The idea for a story becomes a “movie” in my brain, the whole story. I begin writing the story as it is in my mind. Oh, a few small details may change, but the main plot and characters stay the same.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A WRITER?
My greatest challenge is finding time. I also run a small publishing company, have poor health, and edit for other authors.
IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY?
I would love to be positively compared to J.A. Jance. She “showed” the people who ridiculed her desire to become an author, and boy, oh, boy, did she ever prove them wrong.
HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?
I submitted to 4RV Publishing like all submitters do. I may be the head of the company, but I don’t receive any special attention or benefits. My submission went to an acquisition editor anonymously (and, in the past, I was rejected – twice). The acquisition editor recommended I be offered a contract. Nearly three years later, Where Did Panther Go? became a book.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Of course, social media is a way to build a platform. Volunteer to read your book at local libraries and schools. Attend craft fairs and book festivals, pay for a booth (maybe go together with other authors) and sell books. Join local writing and book groups. All help authors promote their books.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Many of my books have earned honors, but the Literary Classics honors have been the top of the list so far.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
I hope to have a book nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
I’m an Air Force brat. I traveled all over the place with my father, an enlisted man in the USAF. I changed school twenty-two times from kindergarten on Randolph AFB until graduation from high school in Limestone, Maine, from part of second and part of third grades on Guam to part of eighth and ninth grades in Morroco.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
I can’t stress enough the importance of reading. Writers become better writers by reading good and bad material. Yes, we learn from badly written books, too: We learn what not to do.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
I Like Pink (earned a silver CLC seal)
Wave Excitement: A Louie the Duck Story
A Baby Doll from Santy Clause (children’s picture books)
The Base Stealers Club and Case of the Missing Coach (for young teens)
Prairie Dog Cowboy (young adult)
All books can be purchased from
and from other online bookstores such as Amazon.com.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Panther’s Snowy Christmas
The real Panther had a unique reaction to his first snow: He reached a paw through the cat door and reached to his right. Pat, pat, pat with his paw. He reached straight out. Pat, pat, pat with his paw. He reached as far as possible to his left. Pat, pat, pat with his paw. That will be part of Panther’s Snowy Christmas, out in September. It will be available on the 4RV online bookstore, Amazon, and other online stores.
Another possible release next year will be a sequel to Midnight Hours titled Darkest Before Dawn.
LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org