When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Not until I was well into my 40s and took a couple of courses in creative writing for the first time in my life. One of my assignments was to write the first five pages of my next novel. Never having written anything before, let alone a novel, this was an intimidating challenge! However, what I wrote formed the basis of my first novel, THWARTED QUEEN.
Who were the authors that influenced you as a youth, and in what ways?
I started reading voraciously when I was 10 years old, mainly to get away from the upheaval of my parents’ divorce. I loved Jane Austen for her style, even though I didn’t quite understand what was going on in her novels at that age. And I started to read historical fiction. I think my love for historical novels started at that time.
How did it feel when you got to hold your very first advanced copy of your book?
I couldn’t believe it! It was a magical moment.
What was the inspiration behind your book(s)?
The inspiration behind THWARTED QUEEN was a British TV documentary about the princes in the Tower, where the presenter went on at some length about the illegitimacy of Edward IV. All I remember thinking was what did Cecylee (Edward’s mother) say to her husband once he got home from fighting the French. Because it was her affair with a handsome archer on the Rouen garrison that produced the child who would later become Edward IV of England.
What was your publishing journey like?
Fraught. I spent the entire year of 2010 shopping THWARTED QUEEN around agents. I got 45 rejections. I got one agent from a top-notch New York agency holding up the process for 3 months, then dismissing all my hard work with the vague comment that it “didn’t knock her socks off.” When I asked her to be more specific, she demurred. I have not worked with an agent since!
What advice do you have for aspiring young novelists?
Novel writing is a craft like many other activities and you owe it to yourself to put in the time and effort to hone your craft. Take what you have to writing conferences to get critiques. And when you get criticism, don’t take it personally. Instead, make sure that you understand what the criticism is about.
If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
A magic wand to deal with climate change.
Where is your favorite travel destination?
Italy. I love the weather, the art, the architecture, the wonderful food, the fabulous countryside.
When you’re not writing, what are your favorite hobbies?
Walking. Swimming. Going to the gym. Ballet.
Where can people find you online?