An author of topics dealing with life beyond the grave, I was brought up in a rich and colorful environment by a mother whose life centered around Ouija board sessions; candles, lit and flickering in the dead of the night; and Tarot card sessions that foretold fortunes gained, fortunes lost and death’s approach.
Thus my moniker, ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’. I spent my youth in New Orleans French Quarter frequenting tea leaf readings and fortune telling sessions and have always had an intense awareness and respect for all elements swirling in the smoke and blueness of the other side of the grave.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
Are your main characters based more on friends . . . or enemies?
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?
Following Hemingway’s example I write while drunk, and edit while sober.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
No, not at all. I’m so sorry, but I cannot relate to this malady.
My mother used to ask me to please shut up – and each time I had to tell her that I was not speaking, I was writing.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Be generous toward your fellow authors, it’s a much smaller community than you might imagine.
What are your current/future projects?
My centerpiece project this year is keeping up with my new job as a newspaper columnist; my sidebar projects include a prequel to “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” and submissions to the “Ladies Writing Group of Perrinville” [my girl gang of wordy women].
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I’m a commercial writer [translation, I don’t write for free; following the advice of Harlan Ellison] I started out as a historical fiction writer and realized there was no CHA-ching in that field so I switched to paranormal.
Since I had so much experience with ghosts (thanks, Mom!) and ‘they’ say “write about what you know”, writing under the banner The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter seemed a natural.
What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?
No, the gates are closing. I think the ‘crowd’ is six months behind the curve on prognostications and opine that Amazon’s move to their own imprints and manipulation of algorithms will impact emerging authors more and more.
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
This is where George Clooney comes in. He makes his own movies and I make my own books.
Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?
It was hell.
Do it ‘right’ the first time.
My blood dripping cover did not sit well with my ephemeral ghost-ies readers on one project; and “Voodoo Vision” never did as well as “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” has done.
What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)
Oh my goodness! Where do I begin??
I’ve driven to California to meet fellow authors Dan O’Brien, and Betty Dravis; I’ve driven to New Jersey to meet Johnny Flora; I discovered that a Vermont library carried my book when I walked in with it under my arm and the head librarian recognized it as a book she had just added to Fair Haven, VT stacks. It’s been a whirlwind.
What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?
The tortoise wins. Take your time, make friends, release your book to a strong, ESTABLISHED platform.
“Free! Free!!” may seem ‘fast’ — but it’s more and more recognized as the cry of desperation from authors who haven’t built a platform; or don’t have a good product.
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
Smashwords — I feel that they are more honest; don’t frick around with algorithms that disadvantage independent authors; have a straight-shoot reputation plus, I admire Mark Coker.
What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?
Paranormal – ghost stories.
What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?
I’m compulsive — and alpha.
The world stops and waits while I write or record.
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
I’m a planner.
I wrote my first novel with no plan/outline and wasted (overwrote) 30,000 words. dumb for an author who wants to get a product to market. On this one I look to JA Konrath.
How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?
My writing in itself hasn’t helped anyone, probably – but I hope my willingness to give advice to emerging authors has.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?
I used to put out Saturday morning PR News (free platform) releases and have received (accumulated) 100,000 hits — I can guarantee you those hits do not translate into the .001 sales value predicted.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
There is value in a good review.
Snark attacks, and back-stabbing from same-genre competitors are usually flushed out. I think that Goodreads is getting the reputation for fostering snark attacks.
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
You’re kidding, right?
I guess I would say, “Think about it. Does it SEEM right?”
Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?
I can think of three New York calibre authors who sabotaged their competition in just the past year — if they do it, independents do it.
(hmmm… I just can’t come up with their names right now, but you know who I mean, right)
Have you ever had an interesting, funny, or even bad experience during a live interview, reading, event, or autograph session?
But I heard about one author who got on a commuter bus and saw that someone was reading HER book! She freaked out!! She ran down the aisle toward the red-emblazened cover, calling out that she was the author. The reader asked for her autograph. When she had the book in her own hands, she realized it was similar but NOT hers. She signed the name of the authentic author.
With self publishing being so easy these days, do you believe there is an over abundance of books out there and how do you sort through all the hype or copycats?
uh-huh. Sales are a LOT harder than four years ago with 10,000 titles entering the Amazon market each MONTH.
What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
If you have multiple books published what do you feel is your greatest work, why?
I would say that “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” is the best I’ve done so far.
It was well-planned; I had a fabulous support-tech team; it hits the mark on development, arc, character development criteria. I’m most proud of this project.
What is the intended audience for you book?
Women between the ages of 30 – 70.
Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?
The dysfunction in each of my books comes from true familial experiences; and yes, I hate the Catholic Church as much as comes across in my books.
If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?
The end is near.
Say?? Oh. That one’s been used?? hmmm…
Quantum Mechanics is the wave of the future. (Michio Kaku is my idol, along with Brian Greene, of course)
Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?
I prefer Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest — in that order.
Twitter is clever; Facebook is a dinner party; and Pinterest is the slide show.
What makes a good story, why?
Psychotic problems. Why?? Because Richard Russo says so.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Scarlett O’Hara says it all.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes, unfortunately I do.
How to deal with bad reviews?? Keep tissues handy, and your mouth shut.
What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?
Fortune tellers on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street has been my greatest resource; along with the French Quarter in general.
What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, why? (Love, action, fight, death, racy, controversial, etc…)
Love and sex are so difficult for me to write about. Again, I blame the Catholic Church for my failings, even in this regard.
What would you like to write about that you have never written about before?
I would like to be able to write from a man’s perspective; much in the same way that “Memoirs of a Geisha” written by a man.
Have you ever had a book idea or characters come to you in a dream? What did you do about it afterwards?
Trance, yes. Dream, no.
When I wrote “The Jenkins of Baltimore” I would go into trances and wake up 3-4 hours later with 3,000 words written. It was weird.
Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?
Both. A book that hasn’t been proofed 14 times is guaranteed to have typos. I rely heavily on Linda Hope Lee and Gretchen Houser for my professional editing.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?
There are no disadvantages to self publishing now that traditional publishing has dropped their marking and promotion assistance to mid-list and emerging authors.
Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?
“I’m an author — not a designer,” is what Zoe Winters told me the first time I interviewed her. She’s smart.
I do NOT design my own book covers.
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