It's great to have you here, Gemma! I'm sure readers will enjoy your answers, so let's get right into it :-)
1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What were some of your first steps toward making your dream a reality? I’ve always been a writer, but I never dreamed I could do it for a living.
My first step was to realize that I COULD write for a living. I had to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, people would want to read the stories I wrote simply for my own entertainment.
The second step was to believe in myself enough to submit my stories to a publisher.
The third step was to toughen my skin to take the rejections that eventually came in.
2. Yes, tough skin is a must in this business J What 3 things would you like readers to know about you? 1) I am blessed with the most amazing husband and canine kids. 2) When I began the Cedar River series, I had never stepped foot on Upper Peninsula soil. 3) If it hadn’t been for the two special men in my life (my father and my husband), who believed in me, I probably would still be writing for my own amusement.
3. Tell us about your books. Genre, titles, any favorite characters? What can we look forward to from you in the near future? WIP’s, upcoming releases
My first book is titled Keeper of the Golden Dragon’s Heart. It’s an urban fantasy/paranormal romance set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Cedar River is a community of shifters. KOTGDH follows the story of Bowie Golden and Anastasia Plum.
Natural Born Enemies is the second book in the Cedar River series. It tells the story of Adam Thomas, black puma shifter, and Luna McIntyre, shaman to the McIntyre Pack. This will be released this fall.
I’m currently working on Book 3 in this series plus I’m working on the first story in a brand-new series about a coven of witches…set in the Upper Peninsula. There is also a book about the Fae. This one will be a children’s story, possibly YA.
4. Wow! That gives readers a lot to look forward to. Is there a common thread in your books? How do your values show up in your writing? What do you want readers to take from your writing?
That is a great question and one I really hadn’t thought on. The common thread I think you’ll find is this strong sense of community. Families aren’t simply blood-related. The families in my stories are made up of friends as well as blood relations. That is how my life truly is.
I hope my values are reflected in my writing. I see a lot of myself in my female leads. They are strong and independent. They don’t NEED a man in their lives, but having the man they have enhances their lives.
I hope my readers enjoy the stories I write, but I hope they take away a couple of things: Your family doesn’t have to be made up of only people you’re related to. Your family can be the group of people who love and support you. Secondly, I hope my readers see that love doesn’t have to make a woman into a whimpering, simpering creature. Sometimes, love doesn’t work out, but you have to keep moving forward. Love will find you when LOVE thinks you’re ready.
5. Those are really important values. My life is like that, too, especially as I’ve aged. I think there’s a lot to be said for “wanting” a man because he enhances your life, but not “needing” one to make it. What do you look for in a good book? I like a book that sucks me into the pages and refuses to let me go until the final page is turned.
6. Yes! The kind you hate to put down, even long enough to turn out the light or turn off the kindle and get some sleep! The kind you’re addicted to until the end, then you’re a little sad it’s over. What are some of the best social media, marketing, and publicity tips you’ve come across? One of my author friends wrote a book about “pimping” yourself as an author. I studied it inside and out. The most valuable information is to put yourself out there and promote, promote, promote, every single day. It doesn’t take long and it is a necessary evil.
7. What are some things you know now about writing and being an author that you wish someone had told you at the very beginning? Oh boy, I think the one thing I wish someone would have told me was how much of my promotions relies on me. It helps to have author friends who offer advice and help promote. They’ve been my lifesavers especially when it comes to guest blogs.
8. That’s very true. I wrote in a bubble for years, but it really helps to have friends sharing the journey. Along that same line, what are some of your favorite resources? My author friends are my greatest resources. I have a couple who are the most wonderful sources of information. They were in my shoes not too long ago so they understand that, as a newbie, I have lots of questions and they are more than willing to answer them.
9. What lifts your spirits when you’re discouraged? My husband and my canine kids. When I’m feeling low, my husband always has some sort of encouragement to offer. If he’s busy or not around, a wet, slobbery kiss from one of my canine kids makes my heart soar.
10. They do help keep things in perspective, don’t they? Nothing’s more important than love and a good rub. LOL What tips can you offer towards building and maintaining a strong support system as a writer? You have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. If you are offered support, give it back. You can’t simply take the support you get and not return the favor. Immerse yourself in the writing world. Friend authors in your various circles. Join groups where authors are offering tips, help, and support to fellow authors. Don’t allow authors to tear you down.
I want to thank Dariel for allowing me to spend the day with her readers. I hope you had as much fun visiting as I have. You can find me on the internet at the following places:
You can also buy e-copies of Keeper of the Golden Dragon’s Heart here: