Tell us a little bit about your background.
I was born in Nevada. My dad was a meat cutter for Safeway, Mother worked in a laundry. She admired her work mate who was a Blackfoot Native American because when she and mother were both pregnant the other woman went home from work, had her baby and came back to the laundry, all in the same day. My mother and dad were both storytellers, and I feel that is as rich a heritage as anyone could ask for.
Now tell us how you got into writing.
My first memories of writing are of when I was seven years old and Mother bought a new typewriter. She let me try it out, so I sat a booth in the restaurant we owned and starting writing the story of my life. When Dad found out what I was doing he said, “It will sure be a short story.”
Was getting published hard?
Yes, it was hard. I’d rather write ten books than try to sell one. I received encouragement at writer’s conferences, several editors took my first book back to the company, but no one bought it. I gave up for a couple of decades, but then one day I met a friend at the store and we decided to get together and write novels. It was delightful. We both from there to publish on line and in print with Amazon. It was one of the best decisions either of us ever made.
Where do you get your ideas?
I get ideas from my own life and experiences. For instance, we loved camping at a campground like Sacred Spring when our children were young. It was about to be condemned and the property sold because of the antique plumbing. These freshwater Florida springs are irreplaceable treasures and I couldn’t bear the thought of a subdivision there. It would most likely kill the spring, so I made up my own story to solve the problem. I believe if you write it, it will happen. The campground was purchased by the state (long before the book came out) and made into a beautiful park.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
It’s hard to say, but if I stick to it, it probably takes about a year. I don’t write full time, because I believe in having a life as well.
What do you enjoy doing outside of writing?
I like being with our family, especially my husband of fifty-six years. I enjoy taking care of our two cats, Jasmine, and Lily, walking in nature, growing herbs, and reading several kinds of books. I like to paint—all mediums, except for oils, never really got into that. I like being with my friends and teaching ages 5-12 in our small church. I like taking naps, and writing emails. There’s one more thing, I love watching the British historical movies and series on PBS and Netflix.
Do you find certain times of the day or certain things inspire you to write?
My biggest inspirations come out of the things that occur in my daily life—such as our granddaughter’s recent commencement from college. I start every day with journaling and Bible reading and I get a lot of inspiration from that. I walk two miles a day, and as Brenda Ueland says, little bombshells of ideas explode in my brain during that time. My life is like a flow of writing and doing other things. I have a good routine that works for me. I write blogs for Rebekah Lyn Books and Old Things R New, as well as my novels. That keeps me sharp and I love doing it. I like the favorable comments too.
What advice would you give to a new writer wishing to make it in the publishing world?
Go indie, it’s so easy and fulfilling that I wouldn’t want to be published any other way and I mean that. Go indie and you’re the boss. Go standard and someone will always be on your back about marketing, you won’t get much royalty, and the books will belong to the company, not to you. Very few people of either persuasion sell a huge number of books. Why not own your own. It means, too, that you can write what you want to write within reasonable parameters.
We'd love to hear a few quirky facts about you...things that don't normally come up in an interview!
I sometimes do ridiculous, impulsive things to get a laugh. The most recent time I embarrassed myself was when the family was sitting at a big table out of doors at a nice restaurant celebrating our granddaughter’s commencement from college. It was raining and cold. My son’s suit jacket fell in a puddle behind his chair. Suddenly and I was seized by the funny aspects of eating under the portico getting soaked and cold and laughing and talking as if we were in a fine dining room. Suddenly, because my ears were cold, I picked up my large white napkin and tied it under my chin like a head-scarf. My family did laugh and that was what I was going for. My husband says it was cute and quirky. Yea!
Anything else you want to add!
Life gets better and better. I thank God many times a day for His goodness to all of us.
By DiVoran Lites
Elaine Donovan’s forebears have owned the Sacred Spring campground in Central Florida for generations, and Elaine has become an environmentalist because of her love of nature and of the property. Duty weighs heavily on the twenty-three year old Elaine as she now finds herself responsible not only for the decrepit campground, but for her young brother, and aging grandfather as well. When she meets developer, Hank Schaefer, she senses he may have answers for her, but discovers that his scheming female partner, Reva North, has other plans for the property. Elaine is then compelled to find her own inspiration, that will preserve and fulfill her hopes and dreams.
Jean Schaefer has suffered from overwhelming anxiety for the past four years, due to the death of her parents and an entanglement with her child’s father, which ended in a shocking rejection. She contracts for an original settler’s house in the woods near Living Spring hoping to use the renovation process as therapy. She must now learn to live in new ways and to allow people into her life again. As the history of the old house, along with elements of her own past begin to surface, Jean finds herself fighting inner battles she thought she had buried forever.
Mel Nicolaides, one of five children, has lived a happy, sheltered life with her family at Living Spring in Florida. Now, while the others head for a vacation in Europe, Mel elects to stay at a remote North Florida spring to work. Her job is to illustrate a botanical book. The author whose Seminole name is Walking Woman teaches Mel about Seminole Indian medicine and culinary herbs. She also helps her to become more independent which is, after all, Mel’s primary goal for the summer. The revelation of a skeleton in the family closet, however, forces Mel to find sources of strength that she never knew existed.