Is your recent book part of a series? If so, can you tell us a bit about where the story is heading?
One of my two most recent books is Beyond the Sea, the third book in the Crystal Odyssey series. I’m currently writing the fourth book that wraps up the adventures of Narissa Day--called Nissa--her siblings, the wizard Madoc, and his siblings. Through the books, their knowledge of their world increases as their own abilities do.
The other recent book is So You Want To Be A Dragon, a middle grade novella.
I want to be a dragon!
Can you tell us about what you're currently working on?
Besides the fourth book in my quartet, I’m working on the sequel to A Bite of the Apple and two post-apocalyptic stories. Actually, one of the latter is already long enough to be two novels plus.
Do you write under a pen name? If so, can you tell us why?
Only for fanfiction. My name on fanfiction.com and archive of our own is hilandmum only because that’s how I registered. For NaNoWriMo, I use plotweaver.
I'll have to check that out! My AO3 account is getting out of control...
What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?
I love books that take me away from my life. I read all kinds: fantasy, science fiction, mystery and thriller, literary stuff and even some nonfiction. I hate when a book catches my attention, but then bogs down in the middle or even worse, never follows through on plotlines. Inconsistency is a major pet peeve.
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
I did some writing when I was in school, but became fascinated with science and got a degree in chemistry, then worked in the scientific information publishing business for forty-five years. It’s only since I retired that I’ve been writing fiction. A lot, as if I was making up for lost time.
You keep saying you're "retired," but three questions ago you listed a whole to-do list that involves at least two novels and a novella. I don't think that word means what you think it means.
Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else required for your creative process?
‘Early’ for me these days is 10:30 a.m. I usually write for an hour before lunch. Depending on our schedule for the day, I write two to three hours in the afternoon or evening. In the evening, I have the TV playing as I write. That can be dangerous sometimes, especially if the program that’s on is engaging.
I want your life so bad...
Do you have complete control over your characters or do they ever control you?
My characters rule, but I trust them to not betray the values I’ve written in them. By the time I’ve reached the third chapter of any book, the characters do what they will, based on the personalities I gave them. Only a few times have I had to rein them in.
A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are. What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?
Every review matters. That’s why I review every book I read. Amazon has stacked the decks; their rankings depend not only on how many books are bought or pages read, but also the number of reviews. Writers also need to know if they did a good job, if they engaged their readers. One way to tell them that is to leave a review.
What kind of impact do you want your book(s) to have on readers?
There’s an underlying feminist message in all my writing. Growing up, few women went into the sciences, especially the hard sciences, but I did. Now there are STEM programs to encourage girls to go into science, technology, engineering and math. We’re getting there, convincing people that girls can do what the boys can. My heroes fight for that.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
It’s the same advice many of the top-selling authors give. Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write. Repeat.
If you could have a dinner with one fictional person, who would it be? Why?
At one point I would have said Harriet Vane or maybe Amelia Peabody, but now I think it would have to be the Orogene Essun. I wouldn’t want to go to her version of Earth, though.
I admit I have no idea who any of those people are. I fail at geek.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
When asked this question in the past, I used to say that I saw the Beatles live twice at Shea Stadium. Now, half of them are gone and so is Shea, but I’m still standing. Getting back to the question, I guess they’d be surprised to know I used to crew for hot air balloons.
What is your Hogwarts House and why?
Gryffindor, of course, and not just because Harry, Hermione and Ron are in it, but because it’s the best. Isn’t it? I even have a shirt or two that says so.
Ugh. You Gryffindors and Slytherins, always obsessed about which house is "the best." Meanwhile I'm crocheting a fabulous Hufflepuff shawl to put all of you to shame. XP
What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?
A key to making the world a better place is to respect everyone, no matter who they are, what they believe, or how they live their lives. I’d want to pass that along to everyone around me, and have them pass it forward as well.
What creature is better: dragons, zombies, or aliens?
I have to say dragons because they appear in my middle-grade book, So You Want to be a Dragon, and in the sequel to A Bite of the Apple.
An excellent choice! Thank you for coming onto my blog!
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!