Today, I was interviewed by the Pagan Writers Community.
1. Tell us a little about yourself, what are the main life experiences that have led to your books?
I’ve been a fortune teller since I was a kid. It sounds strange, but really I had the most supportive parents in the world, and an intuitive mom to boot. In fact, later on, my mom and I actually worked a Psychics on the Sea cruise ship together! I always joke that I could scry in a toothbrush. I started writing books and never stopped. Now I write at least three a year. Some book ideas come to me in dreams. Some of them are given to me by others. I’m easily inspired, and always open to suggestions!
2. When did you realise that you were Pagan?
I grew up as a sort of pantheist. When I was a teenager I dedicated myself to Paganism, and was initiated into Wicca as a young adult.
3. When and why did you begin writing?
I’m going to give a shout out to my junior high school writing teacher, Sue Moroz. She died of breast cancer, but before she did, she made me promise to keep writing!
4. Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?
I’ve had over a dozen books published.
5. Are you published or self published, and what has been your experience of this process?
I am lucky enough to be a multi-published author. I’ve had a really excellent experience working with several publishers. I really can’t rave enough about working with a good publisher. I’m just not good enough to self-publish. I need teams of editors and marketers and an art department to make magic! I’ve had wonderful experience publishing with Llewellyn Worldwide. I’ve also had different but equally charming experiences working with smaller indie presses like Jupiter Gardens Press, Pagan Writers Press, and Megalithica Books.
6. How did the topic of your books come to you?
I mostly write about my day job, fortune telling. I also love to write about magic, spirit communication, and Wicca. Occasionally a fiction manuscript jumps out of me and wanders around my house begging to see the light of day.
7. Who encourages/inspires you?
My mom is definitely my biggest supporter and encourager. I’ll let you in on a little secret that she’s my first and best proof reader. My husband and kids are amazing supporters of my zany writing addiction. And, of course, my editor at Llewellyn, Amy Glaser, is a peach!
8. Tell us a bit about your fiction story, key characters and plot.
I mostly write non-fiction books about body, mind and spirit. Though I did write a romance novel called Horned Hunter of the Night which features a young woman falling in love with the Horned God of the Wicca.
9. What is your top tip for new writers?
Definitely write things and finish what you start. Learn how to work even with frequent interruptions or when you’re not in the mood for writing. As a mom of two young children, I’ve had to teach myself to write under extremely distracting circumstances, and I’m thankful for that skill.
10. What are your future plans for writing?
Well, my book Clearing Clutter releases on July 8th, so I’m excited about that one being released in time for people to clean house for summer guests. I also have 365 Ways to Strengthen Your Spirituality coming out November 8th. I’m writing two more contracted books right now for 2016: Compassion is the Key to Everything and Runes for Beginners, so I’m super pumped about those topics right now.
11. Do you ever dream about writing?
I had a dream about living my spirit life. When I saw my book, How to Talk to Me After I’m Gone in the dream, I immediately told my publisher. I received a positive response on 12/12/12 and signed the contract in about a month, which is lightning speed in the publishing industry, let me tell you. My editor observed that this book must be good therapy for me, and it was.
12. Do we see some of you in your books?
I pretty much pour my soul out in personal stories in all my non-fiction books. And you can literally see me on the cover of How to Talk to Me After I’m Gone, along with my mother and daughter. Technically my son is pictured too, but he was inside my big pregnant belly in that photo. People always ask if those are my hands on the cover of Crystal Ball Reading for Beginners. They’re not. They belong to a model selected by the fabulous art department at Llewellyn Worldwide, although plenty of hands familiar to me appear inside Palmistry Every Day.
13. Tell us a little about the community you’re building through your blog and social media.
Well, I already mentioned that I’m easily inspired, so I often ask my readers through social media and my blog for ideas when I’m pitching new books or writing up outlines for proposals. I also give away a lot of audiobook download codes on social media. In general though, I’m woefully bad at self-promotion. The good news is that I’m not a spammer!
14. Where do you go when you need to recharge?
I am lucky enough to live on acres of property with beautiful Issaquah Creek running through it. If I feel stressed out or need some grounding, I need look no further than my own back yard, which borders over a thousand acres of state park.
15. Have you ever met one of your fiction characters in real life?
In my fiction writing, I love how you can write in people that you like or don’t like, into an amalgam of a character’s personality. Don’t make an author mad, because she just might kill you off in a book.
16. What, or who, do you enjoy reading?
I will read anything. Seriously. I do a lot of reading. I’m currently working on my doctoral degree, so textbooks are piled up on my night table along with non-fiction metaphysical books given to me by Llewellyn Worldwide for researching my next book. For junk reading, I like perusing cookbooks and fitness books, as well as young adult fiction, fantasy and horror, and memoirs.
17. How long does it take you to write a book, are you a fast writer or a slow writer?
I’m fast. My first published book was written in under a month. Now I relax and take about three months per book.
18. Do you plan your stories before you begin?
When I write fiction, the stories write themselves. However, non-fiction requires research, planning and outlines. I get those approved as proposals before the books ever get written.
19. How important are reviews of your work, do you read them?
Reviews are important. I admit that I’ve pouted and eaten sad snacks when I saw a one-star review creep across my computer screen, but now I don’t let it bug me. I just use the feedback for correcting future printings or inspiring future books. I read most of my reviews, but I don’t make a religion of it.
20. Do you think ebooks have changed the publishing market for better or worse?
As a big fan of eBooks myself, I think that they’ve changed the world for the better. All my publishers produce my books in print and ebook format, so I don’t really worry about the logistics or market. That’s for marketers to worry about. I’m focused on writing and reading.
21. Do you socialise with other writers or are you a solitary author?
I’ve joined Pagan Writers Community, haven’t I? Doesn’t that count as socialization? Seriously, though, I also am a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. I’m planning to get together with other writers to write more once my small children are old enough to not cause someone concentrating to have an aneurism.
22. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you most like a writing retreat?
Costa Rica. It’s a beautiful country, pleasant temperature, and has inspiring flora and fauna.
23. Has your style changed over the past five years – how and why?
I’ve learned a lot about writing. I used to use too many exclamation points, so everything I wrote sounded like it was being written by a thirteen year old girl. I also overused hyphens, and generally wrote long sentences. Occasionally I’ll revert back to my bad habits, but I’d like to think I improve with every book.
24. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?
Nope. Never. I suffer from not enough hours in the day.
25. If you could pick one book you wish you’d written, what would it be?
I definitely have a lot of Wicca book ideas in my head that are just begging for the right publisher to decide they’re marketable. I’d love to write a book about my tradition of British Traditional Wicca, Kingstone, while its founding elders are still alive and kicking to help me with the history. I’d also like to write a Wicca book that throws away all the tools that are barriers to folks practicing on a budget or in limited environments like hospitals, prisons, and homes filled with jumpy parents or roommates. I also think there needs to be more books written for Wiccan couples, since it’s a religion often given to practicing in loving pairs.