You have a new book out, At the Crossroads. Who is it for and what is it about?
“At the Crossroad” is the fourth book in my Black Horse Campground mystery series, published by Oak Tree Press. Because I write about everyday people—not the rich and famous or glamorous, not zombies or vampires—who find themselves in danger to themselves and their loved ones and want to have justice done, I hope that the stories appeal to a wide audience of all ages. For this reason, I keep the violence mostly off-screen and keep the stories and language fairly clean.
What gave you the idea for the story? And how did you choose the setting?
I’ve always been a huge fan of mysteries… I graduated from Nancy Drew and the Three Investigators into Agatha Christie when I was about twelve and continue to be a huge fan of the genre! Lately, my reading list has been heavy with New Mexico authors—Aimee and David Thurlo, the late great Tony Hillerman (and now his daughter, Anne), Steven F. Havill, and many others. Having lived in the south central region of New Mexico for almost thirty years, I decided to set my stories in a place I know well and that has a huge place in my heart. New Mexico has many stories and legends and the people who inhabit the state have a fierce loyalty and protectiveness of their heritage and families. They inspired characters who share those traits and also have an open heart for strangers and those in need. These are the people I know and love and they are people whose stories I tell… even though I made them up.
This is not a stand alone book. How many books are out in the series and are there more in the works?
“At the Crossroad” is the fourth book in the series, but certainly not the last! I’m not sure how many more books are going to come up, but Book 5 is due out late this summer and we’ll see where the stories and characters take me. I guess I’ll continue until people tell me to get a life of my own!
Do you have any other books out that are not in this series?
I have written three other stand-alone novels—one is a Catholic YA novel, the other two are probably best classified as romances—but they haven’t been published yet. I hope to work on them in the near future and see if they ever see the light of day!
What is your writing schedule like?
A what? Well, I work full time as a cake decorator for Walmart and have done so for almost eighteen years. I also have a part-time job at Noisy Water Winery in Ruidoso, New Mexico where I sling vino on the occasional weekend (so when you read the books, that IS a real place!) And when I’m not taking care of a husband and son and family, I try to eat and sleep. But writing is something I try to do every day and when I can schedule a day of nothing but writing… it’s rare!
Are you a plotter or pantser?
A little of both. I get an idea for a story and try to plan it out, but once I start writing, it’s very likely that my characters will suddenly throw in a plot twist or secondary storyline and it’s like herding cats to try to get them to all come together. But that’s part of the fun!
What program do you write with?
Usually wide-rule spiral notebooks with Bic profile pens (medium point, black ink) and a sticky note pad. Then I revise while typing and for that I use Apache Open Office Writer 4. I don’t know why; it’s what’s on my laptop and it does the job!
What is your one piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Read a lot—especially in the genre you wish to write—and write a lot. There’s far more advice I could give… develop your own voice, be ruthless when you edit, listen to constructive criticism. But if you don’t read and write, none of that is going to help.
Where can readers get a copy of At the Crossroads or any of your other books?
The entire Black Horse Campground series—“End of the Road”, “No Lifeguard on Duty”, “No Vacancy”, and “At the Crossroad”—are available from Oak Tree Press, amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and from your local indie bookstore, if they’ll order it in for you. The links are below and visit my website and The Back Deck Blog.