Q:When did you become interested in writing?
A:As early as I can remember, I have conjured up stories in my mind. I was fascinated with TV spy shows and mysteries. I loved watching movies and always thinking about my own spies and mysteries. I put myself to sleep at night thinking up a story. I began writing them down when I was around nine years old. I became more serious about writing when I joined a local writers group.
Q:Your writing background includes photojournalism. When did you begin with that?
A:I started in photojournalism writing for a free publication out of Kent Ohio called, The Woman’s Voice. The paper was about women’s issues. I ran an idea past them to write about young women, their lives, what they wanted to be later in life. I interviewed and wrote over 120 articles for that paper. Then I interviewed for a position with The Trading Post, now called The Post, a Trogden Publication, our of Rittman Ohio. I wrote for that publication for a year, writing 100 or so business and feature articles. I took photos for both publications. I would like to get back into that type of writing to supplement my novel writing. It keeps me connected with the real world while I’m writing fiction.
Q:What about the fiction for Secret SacrificesSecret Sacrifices is a thriller, about a 10-year-old kidnapped girl, Tracey Brown, and the mother who searches for her. When the authorities have exhausted all leads to find her, the desperate mother, Maggie Brown, contacts Tracey’s biological father, Matt Sanford to help find Tracey. How did you come up with the idea for Secret Sacrifices?
A:While searching the internet, I stumbled across a gruesome article in an Egyptian newspaper where children were being killed for the sale of their body parts to privately run hospitals. Of course, I thought, how horrible. Then I began thinking, how did they find children to use for that and that’s when I came up with the kidnapping idea. Because I am a parent, I raised our daughter with all the common sense knowledge about never going with strangers, going places using the buddy system, etcetera, but when I thought about the kidnapping for the book, I realized that there are several everyday scenarios where children could be snatched away easily. So, I picked one, and so the story goes.
Q:The story takes place on St. John, a United States Virgin Island. Why St. John?
A:I had found the Egyptian newspaper article right before we went on a family vacation to St. John. I realized the small island setting was the perfect place for my kidnapping, especially with the method I had chosen, and thus began the Caribbean kidnapping ring that Tracey gets brought in to.
Q:What are you working on now?
A:I’m working on a sequel to Secret Sacrifices. The working title is Search for the Cuban.
Q:Who are some of your favorite authors?
A:I like to read thrillers, suspense and mysteries. I think Mark T. Sullivan is a great suspense builder, I like Greg Iles writing style, Janet Evanovich creates snappy dialogue, and so does Robert B. Parker. There are many others. I don’t spend much time reading, I wish I had more time to read. I try to get one or two books in on my vacations.
Q:Those are all pretty quick reads; does that say something about your writing style also?
A:Yes. My attention span is short, always has been, and doesn’t seem to be getting better with age. I write how I want to read. The pace had better be quick and entertaining. My chapters are short, and short for a reason. Long drawn out scenes don’t interest me. I don’t want to read four pages of description. I want my stories to move along.
Q:You said you are a movie buff. What are some of your favorite movies?
A:There are so many, Philadelphia with Tom Hanks; Denzel Washington in Man on Fire. Stand and Deliver with Morgan Freeman and Lean on Me. One of my favorites is A Love Song for Bobby Long with John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson. Another good movie is The Italian Job, and Blood Diamond—Leonardo Dicaprio’s best film ever. True Grit with John Wayne and Kim Darby. Her lines, and character, are fantastic in the movie. Pretty much anything Gene Hackman or Harrison Ford star in is worth a look-see. There are too many movies to mention. When I need a good laugh I will watch The Bird Cage and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Q:What are your hobbies?
A:I like photography, boating and fishing, I try to be a stickler when writing detail so I love to look around, go different places, and notice my surroundings.
 Q: Any advice for budding writers?
 A:I’ve always read, ‘write what you know’ I say, also write what you don’t know. The research is a lot of fun!
July 2024