What a sweet and captivating story. We've all had dreams we hate to wake from and for the main character it's the person in them she wants to stick around. This story was adorable and striking all at once. It's sweet and clean and good for any age. It even addresses important topics like bullying. Highly recommend it for youth and adults alike.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I was born and raised in a small town in southern Ohio. I read constantly while I was growing up and, like Ellie (the main character in WHAT DREAMS MAY COME), I was always lost in my imagination. I was definitely a dreamer. The world I found in my imagination, whether reading or writing, was always a lot more interesting than the real world around me. I’ve been telling stories and creating things for as long as I can remember, so it was only natural to start sharing my stories with others.
Have you always wanted to write?
Yes, always. I can still remember an idea I turned into a story back in the first grade that I was really excited about. In the third grade, I wrote a non-fiction book about some baby birds my sisters and I found abandoned and helped to raise. The book won a Young Authors award and my mom laminated it (the book, not the award) and from then on, I knew that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Do you have another career in your past?
For most of my career I’ve worked professionally as an editor and technical writer, mostly in the field of educational publishing—writing and editing standardized tests, science and math textbooks, on-the-job training manuals, all that fun stuff. I’ve also worked as a website manager for a couple of nonprofit organizations. That was a lot of fun.
Tell us about this book.
WHAT DREAMS MAY COME is the story of Ellie—an extremely shy girl with pretty low self-esteem who has issues with her mom and gets bullied at school—and how the imaginary friend she’s been dreaming of her entire life shows up one day at her school, in the flesh, and wants to have a relationship with her. It’s a story about that shy girl who feels invisible and worthless finding out that someone loves her enough to search for her and cross great distances to find her, knows her well enough to see who she truly is inside and the beautiful things that make her unique, and cares enough to patiently help her overcome her fears and take a chance on love. It’s full of vivid descriptions, lush romance, and feel-good moments. It’s a book that will leave you feeling uplifted and make you give a happy sigh.
Was getting published hard?
I won’t lie, it was really hard. I spent probably a solid year-and-a-half trying to get an agent. I got lots of great feedback on my novel and most agents seemed to like it, they just weren’t sure they could sell it to a publisher. I got really discouraged for a while and stepped away, then came back later and tried again. Finally, it became obvious to me that traditional publishing wasn’t going to be the right path for this book. I really struggled with that. A friend had suggested Indie publishing to me but at that time, I wasn’t open to that idea at all. I really wanted to go the traditional route. Over the next couple of years, though, I started seeing more and more articles by writers who had chosen to leave traditional publishing and go Indie, or those who chose that path from the beginning and were making it work. Indie publishing seemed to be gaining a lot more respect and I started looking into it seriously and found there were several real benefits to Indie publishing. One was the creative control you have over your end product and another was the flexibility with timing, pricing, running sales, and the business end of things. The more I researched it, the more Indie publishing seemed like a solid option. What it came down to in the end, though, was that I really believed in my story and felt strongly that it needed to be out there, whatever it took to make that happen. I finally took the plunge into Indie publishing and I’m SO glad I did.
Do you have a work in progress now?
Yep, several. I have a number of completed novels that are in various stages of publication. There’s one in particular that’s in pretty good shape. I’m working to polish it now so it’s ready to publish. I’m also writing the first draft of the sequel to WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, in hopes of publishing it by the end of the year. The writing’s going well; I’m probably about 75% done with the first draft.
What are your writing goals/dreams?
I’d just love to be able to support myself with my novels so I could devote myself to that full-time. When you spend most of the day writing technical documents and editing other people’s work, it’s so hard to come home and find the energy and creativity to dive back into writing and editing a novel.
What would you tell an aspiring writing about getting published?
I would encourage them to pursue their dream wherever it takes them. There are a lot of different paths you can take to publication now: traditional publishing, publishing with an e-publisher or small press, or Indie publishing. Don’t get so locked into one path that you miss others that might be really rewarding and help you fulfill your dream. The important thing is to get your story out there. The story you’ve been given is one that only you can tell and someone out there in the world needs to hear it. If you let yourself get discouraged and give up, the world will be a poorer place for missing out on your story.
We'd love to hear some quirky facts about you...some things that don't usually come up in interviews.
I’m a super picky eater and in really weird ways. For instance, I hate bananas but I like banana-flavored things (like runts and banana pudding—I think it’s the texture of bananas that throws me off). But on the flip side, I like actual peanut butter but can’t stand peanut-butter-flavored things. It’s weird. I don’t even understand it myself, LOL. I also hate potatoes. It’s actually weird to me how many potato-based dishes there are in our country—baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, French fries, potato chips, potato soup, potato skins, potato pancakes. People love the potato. I just can’t understand it.
What authors/books especially stand out to you?
Too many to name, really. I LOVE reading—even more than writing, sometimes—so I have a ton of favorite authors and books. Growing up, I especially loved books by Madeleine L’Engle, L.M. Montgomery, C.S. Lewis, and L.J. Smith (hmm, apparently I like authors with lots of initials, LOL).
How do you come up with your ideas?
Sometimes they come from dreams I’ve had. I have a lot of really unusual and detailed, fully-plotted-out dreams. Other times, I get ideas from something I’ve read or heard about or somewhere I’ve visited that catches my imagination and just snowballs. I never have a shortage of ideas. The idea for WHAT DREAMS MAY COME was actually an idea I had ages ago for a short story I never wrote. When I finally decided to write it, the story completely took off and snowballed from a short story to a trilogy of full-length novels. My imagination tends to run wild, LOL.
Is there a certain time of day in which you write better?
Definitely at night. I’m a huge night owl, so I like to start writing at 10 or 11 pm and write until the wee hours of the morning. There’s just something magical to me about how quiet and still the world gets at night when everyone else is sleeping.
Do you like to listen to music or have a snack when writing?
Nope, I’m easily distracted, LOL. I usually like to have complete quiet, as much as possible. If I’m in a public place and people are talking, I’d much rather listen to their conversations than work (an occupational hazard, LOL), so I try to find somewhere quiet to write.
Anything else you want to add including links, pictures, etc. You can attach a book cover picture and a picture of you as well as your links and whatever else you want me to include!
I hope you’ll check out the book and let me know what you think. I LOVE to hear from readers! For more information on my novels and updates on the sequel, WHERE NIGHTMARES WALK, you can find me at any of the following places:
Buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KMR0P1K
Thanks! It’s been fun visiting with you!