Why do you write? I have to! Some people believe I am possessed. Others are certain I am on some sort of drugs. You know, if only it were that simple. Those problems can be fixed with an exorcism and drug rehab. I’m not fixable—and I’m really glad about that! However, it is a documented fact that when I am writing Jolene, there is a bit of a personality shift—okay, a lot. I’m normally a high energy person, but when Jolene is out and about it is off the charts. And I love it! It is so much fun and I get so excited about how the story is unfolding that I can’t fault people for thinking I’m a little wacko. It probably doesn’t help that every time an exciting scene pops into my head I call them and squeal, “Guess what just happened!” So, to answer the question again…I write because I have to—it feeds my soul. It also gives the voices in my head something to do, which is not nearly as crazy as it sounds. Hey, it works for me!
What inspired you to write your first book? A trip back to Fort Worth, Texas for a funeral. Seriously! My uncle, who was like a second father to me, had been ill for a long time and when he passed, we headed back to Texas. He and I had always joked about being forced to go to Wichita Falls for family gatherings, so making disparaging comments about anything and everything became a bonding activity for us. My mother never totally caught on, but she suspected and gave us the evil eye accordingly. So, the night before we left Colorado to go to his funeral, I had a dream. I know it sounds hokey, but it’s also true. The idea for the book laid itself out in full living color and I had the opening line as well when I woke up. I loaded myself in the car, and thanks to my trusty laptop and an ongoing supply of Benadryl to combat motion sickness, I wrote the first fifty pages of the novel on the trip down. No small trick with three kids and two dogs. Yes, I figure I had a little other worldly help with that!
Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Oh, no, not at all, and it says so quite clearly and emphatically in the disclaimer at the front of the book. Now, it is true that I did grow up in Texas, and I might possibly have loosely based the setting on a town similar to Holliday, Texas, but the description fits pretty much any small town, including the fact that there’s a Dairy Queen. One thing is very true. The ugly yellow yearbook fiasco described in Dead Man Falls is just too stupid to not be a fact. And, for the record, Jolene is not me, she just sort of looks, talks and thinks like I have from time to time—totally different thing. Lucille isn’t a mirror of my mother either, she’s more a compilation of several women, but the looks, oh, yeah, that’s her. I still have some of her very large and wildly eccentric clip-on earrings. I did not keep the trademark gold-glitter slippers, but I did buy a pair of blue sequined ones for myself in her honor. Obviously, the murderous events were made up—the local mayor didn’t actually die, but he sure did deserve to. Now, the “You slut, he’s a married man” hate mail thing is disturbingly true. Even more disturbing is that my mother was proud of it. “Isn’t that something!” she said, giggling. “At my age, somebody thinking I’m a slut! I must be doing something right!” …I could go on, but I’m pretty sure I’ve already said too much…
What’s your favorite meal? I’m kind of a health nut. I love fresh veggies and green smoothies and all that. But my most favorite thing to eat is snow crab legs—I like them better than the other varieties—and yes, I dip every single bite in melted butter. Okay, now I’m hungry!
Do you know your neighbors? I know a few, although I don’t visit regularly with any. I live in a smaller condo complex and most of my neighbors are older, which I really love. There are four units in my building and all are owned by single women—I’m the youngest by several decades and the oldest is 93—seriously! She doesn’t drive, but she still gets out of the house more than I do. I know they must think I am very strange, not leaving my house for days on end. They’ve admitted to wondering if I’d died on occasion—yes, I get the irony of that comment coming from the elderly people.
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Genre – Mystery & Thriller / Women Sleuth
Rating – PG13