What is your story about?
DO: I have three books published.
The Ninja Tattoo is a contemporary romantic suspense set in Florida. A violent biker gang targets Army veteran Teague McMurtry for death. He must use all his skills to protect himself & the woman he loves.
Indian Summer is an historical romance set in St. Augustine, Florida in 1739. Gabriella Deza stands on the brink of womanhood & must choose her mate. Will it be the cheerful Englishman, Dr. James Stevens or the dark and mysterious Spaniard, Manuel Enriques?
Lone Wolf is a futuristic romance set in space in the year 3032. Matilda Dulac and her lover, Wilhelm VanLipsig, must capture John Riley before he can unleash the ultimate evil on an unsuspecting universe.
Is writing a natural talent, or did you take classes to hone your craft?
DO: Writing comes very easily for me. I had a very strict grammatical upbringing in a home with a school teacher mother and college English professor for a father. Other than the usual high school and college classes, I haven’t had any “formal” training. As far as the writing conventions everyone preaches about, I probably violate them all. I write in first person when the story calls for it. I “head hop” from one point of view to the next. The story demands to be told a particular way and I do my best to tell it.
Do you have a ritual when you write? (Special time of day, music etc.)
DO: My writing schedule is all broken up by phone calls, errands, writing groups and the demands of my family. I write when I can find the time. I always listen to music when I write. Sometimes the listening choices are dictated by the story, other times I simply listen to the same list and keep it as background noise. I listen to a wide variety of music, but that could be an interview all by itself.
Do you write in multiple genres?
DO: I write mostly romance, but I choose different permutations of the genre. I have 3 books published. One is contemporary romantic suspense, another is historical romance and the third is a futuristic romance. I also have (as yet unpublished) a “retro” romance set in 1976, and several contemporary romance novels. I seem to favor romantic suspense as it combines my love of romance and mystery.
Most people want to know, is writing really all that hard?
DO: It can be very hard. Finding the right words isn’t easy. Many people think that writing a story isn’t that big a deal, but it’s quite an undertaking. The author builds a plausible world with believable characters. S/he puts them into situations and has to get them back out in a satisfactory way. Dialogue, pacing, plotting, characterization… these are all under the writer’s auspice, but have to be balanced and controlled. I’d like to see the average person sit down and compose a story from scratch with nothing but a pen and paper and see how easy it is.
Do your family and friends read your work?
DO: Yes. My husband used to read everything I wrote. Now, with the cost of ink & paper, I don’t run hard copies anymore. He refuses to read things on the computer, so he doesn’t read them as much as he did.
When my historical novel came out, my mother bought copies for all my cousins. I hope that some of them have read it.
Have you ever had writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
DO: Sometimes the Muse takes a vacation. I don’t get completely blocked, but I will run out of words for one story or another. I either go back through and re-read it, doing a little editing, or I move on to another project. I have dozens. If the Muse isn’t speaking for one, I wake up another one and wait to see where it will go.
Do you have an illustrator, or co-author, if so, who?
Do you write according to the trends or from the heart?
DO: I’ve never been able to write to trends. My mind doesn’t work that way. I strictly write from the heart. I think that I get a more genuine, better product that way. Writing to a trend, while popular, doesn’t always create a story of lasting worth. In fact, once the trend is over, that story no longer has an audience. A well crafted novel will last regardless of trends.
Who is your favorite author of all time?
I can’t pick just one! I love Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Richard Brautigan, Ray Bradbury, Andre Norton, Janet Morris, Elizabeth Peters, Ellis Petes, Shakespeare, Harper Lee, Mark Twain and dozens of others. I could never limit myself to just one author.
Have you gotten in trouble for your work?
DO: No, fortunately I haven’t.
Do you read online reviews? If so, how do you deal with the negativity?
DO: I know it’s probably hiding my head in the sand, but I don’t read the reviews. I’ve had a few negative reviews, mostly on a story I gave away for free on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. The main complaint was “It’s too short, don’t bother”. I ignore those comments because we all have different taste in stories. Obviously, they just don’t get it. Yes, it makes me feel kind of bad, but I hope that other readers will be less swayed by a one line review and concentrate on the free preview of the story.
What’s best: Pen and paper, or laptop?
DO: I don’t have a laptop. I have a PC that sits under my desk. I know that’s kind of a dinosaur, but I like it. I do have a little Acer Notebook that I take with me when I travel. It’s very small & hard for me to type fast because the keys are so close together. I sometimes use a pen & spiral notebook when I have a doctor’s appointment. I’ve taken my Notebook, but that gets awkward if there’s no table for it. I much prefer my computer, but there are times when a story flows from a pen, not a keyboard.
What are you reading now?
DO: I’m reading three books: Deeds of the Disturber by Elizabeth Peters, Shelters of Stone by Jean Auel and The Road to Transplant: The Final Mile by Brian M. Hayden.
If your house was on fire, what would you save: your computer, or your book collection?
Do you consider yourself a tech wiz?
DO: Hah! No. That is, actually, quite laughable.
What’s your next project?
DO: I am part of an on-going anthology, Rubicon Ranch: Necropieces. I am also working with several other authors on Rubicon Ranch: Secrets. In addition to that, I’m working on rewrites of one novel, editing two more and trying to complete a variety of others, none of which are cooperating.
What’s the strangest length you ever went to research your book?
DO: When I was researching Indian Summer, I made my husband take me to St. Augustine for a week. It was our 25th wedding anniversary and we’d never had an actual honeymoon, so we made an event of it. St. Augustine is about 2 hours away. We spent the week at a beautiful B&B up there and toured the town by day, enjoying the sights. I won’t call that strange, exactly, but it was (for me) extreme.
What would you like aspiring authors to know about the realities of a writing career?
There are predators out there who are ready to rob you blind. Research carefully any agent or publishing company before you commit. If they ask for any money in advance, then be very leery that they are actually legit. This is different with self-publishers and vanity presses, but there are still people waiting to sucker the unwary.
Read contracts carefully. If you aren’t sure what you’re reading, consult a lawyer or someone who can weed through the legalize and tell you just what you’re signing. IF YOU DO NOT RETAIN YOUR COPYRIGHT THEN YOU DO NOT WANT TO SIGN THAT CONTRACT!
On a lighter note, enjoy yourself with your writing. Explore new settings, get to know your characters, let them off the leash and see where they go. Don’t limit yourself or your imagination. Let it fly into outer space or drift into the past. Put yourself in another pair of shoes and view the world from someone elses point of view. Keep it fresh and fun and you – and your readers – will never be bored.