What inspired you to write your first book?
My novel is called I MURDERED THE PTA (A Daphne Lee-Lee Misadventure). You can probably imagine what inspired it, but if you’ve never sat in on a PTA meeting–or like me, been on a PTA board for seven years–then you’re truly missing out on some fabulously creative–and potentially murderous–inspiration.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Books haven’t influenced my life most–writers have. Particularly writers like Mike Royko, Andy Rooney and Erma Bombeck.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
My mentor is Jim R. Lane, author of DUTY and BLINDSIDE. He’s a modest guy, and I’m sure he’d be horrified that I told on him, but he’s the one who taught me not to use big words when I don’t have to.
What genre do you consider your book(s)?
I MURDERED THE PTA is a humorous mystery, but it also crosses over a little into romance, chick-lit, and whack-a-doo, if whack-a-doo counts as a genre.
What book are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading a couple of books about vintage purses, since I’m a collector. A HUGE collector. I have a lot of vintage clothes, including a ridiculously large collection of handbags. I’m trying to get museums interested in my traveling vintage purse exhibit.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My next novel is the second in the series of Daphne Lee-Lee Misadventures. It’s called I MURDERED THE SPELLING BEE. Poor Daphne. She gets herself in another mess.
Because the original cover artist dropped out and my publisher didn’t have one lined up to replace him–and we were on short deadline–my good friend Lisa Chillino-Pawlick (Chillpaw) designed the covers. She’s a very talented artist whose passion is helping out animal rescues by designing cartoon logos and other art for them.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My main goal in writing I MURDERED THE PTA was to make sure I didn’t underestimate my reader. I didn’t want to make the outcome so obvious that the book was easy to figure out, but I also didn’t want to pull the resolution out of nowhere–leaving the reader saying, “Huh? How’d that happen?” Plot twists and turns are fun to write, but, man, they’re hard to tie together.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
I don’t really do outlines. I kind of have an idea where I’m going, but, generally speaking, I like to surprise myself. It makes the writing experience more fun for me. Because I’m selfish like that.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you’re going to be a writer, treat your writing like a business. Don’t think people are going to fall all over themselves to get to your book because you’re the most wonderful thing since deep-fried Twinkies. You have to put as much effort into the marketing as you do the writing.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
My books are purely for entertainment. They’re not works of literary genius. But if you need something to read in the bathroom, or on an airplane, or in an airplane bathroom, I MURDERED THE PTA is awesome!