When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I was always an avid reader. From ten to thirteen I moved to a section of Florida that was very bleak. When I couldn’t get to the library, I would visit the Food Fair and in the book section, I’d read until the manager caught me and threw me out. The next day, I would return and pick up where I left off. During this time, I used to pretend I wrote novels and was on a talk show discussing my latest. I would hold up a thick, Readers Digest Book and make up characters, setting and plot. When I was in high school, my poem, “The Devil’s Disciple,” was accepted into a state-wide anthology and I consciously made up my mind that was what I wanted to do but it wasn’t until years later, when I wrote my first Regency as a Christmas present for my sister Karen, that I began to believe my dream could come true.
How did you pick the genre/setting/era you usually write in?
I write in all genres. Regencies, Victorian mysteries, Fantasies, Horror, Sci-Fi, YA, and Middle Grade. I love history, particularly English Regencies, and Victorian times. Writing a story that takes place in the past is challenging and fun. I’ve also written Westerns and stories that take place in other countries. Research is not difficult for me and with the advent of the Internet it’s much less time consuming. Through the years, I have collected a lot of information which I place in binders and acquire books on subjects like poisons, famous murders, clothing and customs. I like to dive into the era I’m writing about and feel what it would be like to be alive then. But I am equally comfortable writing about my own era.
You write mysteries. Does your inspiration begin with the crime, the detective, the setting, or some other place?
That depends. Usually, it begins with either a crime or the detective. The setting usually falls into place after the other two are set.
How did you come up with the idea for your story in History and Mystery, Oh My?
I had already developed the character of Sarah Wyndom as an older, independent woman detective in the Victorian era in “The Case of the Missing Wife.” The Victorian era was a time of both restriction and budding freedom for women. For the first time, they left home to work in factories, entered professions like nursing, became doctors and owned their own businesses. Sarah Wyndom comes from a privileged background but rejected her role in society to do something she loved.
Do you have a favorite historical period you enjoy reading or writing about?
Besides the Regency and Victorian periods, I am an avid fan of English mysteries in general whether they take place in the past or present. But I am especially fond of the Medieval Cadfael series, the Sister Fidelma series set in ancient Ireland, and the Navaho mysteries by Tony Hilerman. Cultures and times that are different than mine fascinate me and add to my enjoyment of the mystery. In addition to mysteries, I love reading paranormal fantasy from such authors as Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris and Kate Daniels.
What are you working on now?
I just finished “The Haunting of Jemima Nash,” a short story I was invited to write for the John Greenleaf Whittier Museum based on one of his poems. At the moment, I am finishing up a Steampunk story called, “Re-Inventing the Future.” Grey Gate Media which purchased The Twelve Days of Christmas, a Regency novel I wrote, has sadly closed and my next project is to look it over and put it up on Kindle myself or sell it to another house. I am, however, never without projects, including Beyond the Iberian Sea, Book II of The Janus Demon, and The Boy in the Green High Tops, a YA prequel. I’ve written three chapters on another Regency, The Wager, and plan to edit a Victorian mystery, “The Poisoned Pen Murders.”