Beware the crazy cat lady who think hamburgers taste like victory. Read on and find out more…
According to Wikipedia, ‘a superhero is a type of heroic character possessing extraordinary talents, supernatural phenomena, or superhuman powers and is dedicated to a moral goal or protecting the public.’ Sounds like a writer to me!
Join me as another one of these unsung superheroes invites into their personal ‘batcave’.
If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?
After earning a BA in English, I focused on technical writing. However, while expecting our second child, my husband and I decided that one of us should be an at-home-parent. His benefits were better and it was easier for me to work free-lance, so we decided he should continue working at his ‘real job’ while I freelanced. Soon, I had a contract to write a policy and procedure manual, next a computer user manual, after that, I compiled several preventive maintenance plans and so on, but I also realized that I needed more…
Would you want the emotional highlight of your day to be explaining to your distressed three-year-old why your beloved tomcat rebelled against being dressed up in frills and a bonnet, then paraded down the street in a buggy?
My first contemporary-suspense novel was dreadful, but I had fun writing it.
If this is the incriminating scoop you’re after, I am sorry to inform you that all evidence has been destroyed. In between freelance projects, I studied the difference between fiction and non-fiction. I concluded: fiction = emotion; while non-fiction = information. I also learned several things, that either hadn’t come up while earning my degree, or possibly I hadn’t paid attention to because my focus had been trying to learn how to do technical writing. For instance, I learned that as a fiction author, while I need to know everything, readers only need a fraction… and the trick is to give reader the correct bits and in the proper order.
The Peacekeepers, a Sci-Fantasy, was published by Silver Dragon Press in November of 2001. Shortly after that, Serenade Press published my first official contemporary-suspense-romance, Deadly Rumors, and I soon had contracts for Fatal Attractions and Passion’s Fire.
Then, in 2004, we purchased a Gemini 105MC catamaran and moved aboard to investigate this amazing world. While living aboard EvenStar, I frequently wondered what Rom, our beloved, but recently deceased tomcat, would think of living on water… Xander de Hunter, Catamondo’s Sea Purrtector and hero of my Sea Purrtector Files series, looks just like Rom and coincidently, his home-base is Whispurring Winds, a Gemini 105MC. (Thus far, the series has not included ruffles, bonnets or baby buggies, but one never knows what might happen to Xander.)
Upon returning to the US and stable power, some fans introduced me to ebooks and self publishing. I would have loved having an e-reader while traveling! Realizing that it wouldn’t hurt to test the ‘e-waters’, I republished Deadly Rumors. However, after releasing it, I learned that many of my fans were young adults, and Deadly Rumors was ‘R rated’, so prior to republishing more titles I rewrote for the 13 and up market, thus, The Peacekeepers became Star Bridge, but by either name, this is a story about clashing cultures and family dynamics.
With YA readers in mind, I also rewrote Fatal Attractions and Passion’s Fire, which are contemporary-suspense-romances set in Alaska. By the time I was done with those rewrites, I’d been re-bitten by the fiction bug, and since I’d frequently wondered how Rom would have liked sharing our sailing years, I wrote The Red Claw as a memorial to him. It was a lot of fun, and one plot seemed to lead to another for Xander de Hunter, who some call a feline 007. At the moment, Latitudes & Cattitudes, The Red Claw and Purr-a-noia are available, plus The Vi-Purrs will be out by Easter. The Sea Purrtector Series has a sub-theme about accepting others – individuals and cultures. For instance, Xander learns to accept the help of various other species including a clever chameleon, birds and even <shiver> a couple dogs… not to give a spoiler, but there will be a rat in The Vi-Purrs.
Last year, I finished Thunder Moon and Fire Island, which complete The Chatterre Trilogy that began with Star Bridge. All three continue the clashing cultures theme, which shows that there is more than one way to look at strangers. IMHO, if we looked for similarities, instead of differences, the world would become a happier place.
All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.
Crazy cat lady 😉
Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?
Mr. M is my zen master/muse and Ms. Purrseidon, who we anticipated being his companion, helps me think outside the box. That kitten likes water sports, and Purrseidon’s real-life shenanigans were so unexpected that in Purr-a-noia she was written in as Mischief, a kitten who is simultaneously charming and stubborn as a mule. In The Vi-Purrs, Mischief’s love of water will be revealed … poor Xander has his paws full with that kitten.
Where do you get your superpowers from?
I suspect Mr. M does some form of feline-zen-mind-meld-thing when I’m asleep.
Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?
It looks a lot like a tropical garden with birds and butterflies flitting among the pomegranates, citrus, pineapples, bananas and herbs. In other words, my back yard.
What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world saving form? How do you insure they are used only for good?
While it would be wonderful to know something can only be used for good, in reality ideas, technology, etc. can get into the wrong hands and on occasion, life events skew thoughts. So, unfortunately, it is possible for a wonderful idea and/or a good person to end up on the dark side – just ask Anakin Skywalker a.k.a. Darth Vader.
That said, my zen master/muse works very hard to keep things positive, the heroes on the high road and endings purrfect.
Granted, you probably don’t get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?
Cat woman – near the end of the movie, when she looks a bit frayed.
What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?
Balancing the time needed to write with being a wife and mom. Sometimes this means that dust bunnies roam free, because I feel people and/or plots are more important than visible paw prints.
What was the supervillian that threatened to stop your latest project and how did you vanquish it?
While we were in Panama, a bull jumped the fence, caught his rear leg on the barbwire and landed on me, as I was weeding. That event resulted in several spinal issues, including arthritis, which seems to be a weather barometer. So, anytime there is a lot of rain, I have problems. I vanquish this with yoga and hamburgers, which taste like victory.
What important lessons have you learned along the way?
I can do anything I set my mind to as long as I: 1) study how to conquer the situation; 2) make a plan; 3) show up and 4) give it my best shot.
What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?
The years we spent sailing and learning more about this fascinating world of ours.
If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?
I believe that the sum-total of our life experiences make us who we are, so tempting as it is to BBQ a certain bull before it landed on my back, I wouldn’t change anything because both good and bad things made me who I am.
What is the best (writing or otherwise) advice you have ever gotten and why.
On life in general: “You have three choices in life: give up, give in, or give it all you’ve got.” This made me realize that I have a choice for how I approach any given situation, thus, I am in charge of my destiny.
On writing: Sol Stein’s 10 commandments for writers from his book Stein on Writing, for example, “Thou shalt not sprinkle characters into a preconceived plot lest thou produce hackwork. In the beginning was the character, then the word, and from the character’s words is brought forth action.” This helped me break from the pattern of tech-writing and allow the characters to take charge of their own story.
Tell us about you new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.
The Daily Mews reports continued violence in the Dominican Republic Purrtectorate and Xander discovers that the Moreau situation is still affecting the ability of Catamondo to purrtect cats. Worse, the office of the Dominican Republic’s Purrtectorate appears to have been compromised.
Will Xander be able to save the integrity of the Purrtectorate and restore peace?
…And don’t you want to know if he can get along with that rat? The Vi-Purrs is currently available via preorder through Smashwords and its affiliates (B&N, iBooks, Kobo, etc.) via preorder and will be out soon. Preorder direct from Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/551701), and use coupon code DZ75J to get The Vi-Purrs for 99c.
What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?
I have begun Me-YEOW!, which sends Xander and Mischief to India. Merlin meets Xander there, so with two high-ranking Purrtectors plus Mischief converging, you know things will go from bad to worse before they get better.
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