Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
Since I am the publisher for Books We Love and one half of the management team (retired lawyer Brian Roberts being the other half) I don’t have as much time to work on my novels as I often wish I did, but when I’m writing it’s like I escape to another world. My Kelly McWinter series, now expanded and launched into a brand new direction, with the release in fall 2016 of New Directions by Jamie Hill and Jude Pittman. Yep, Jamie Hill, one of my favorite romantic suspense authors and myself have teamed up to write the McWinter Confidential mystery series. Book 1, New Directions (of course) has been piling up five star reviews for us, 12 so far, and we are very, very grateful to our fans and faithful readers.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I finished reading through all the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries and mom let me start on her Agatha Christie’s. I’ve always loved mysteries and I’ve always wanted to be a writer.
How long does it take you (on average) to write a book?
Usually about six months. The first three months on just drafting and writing and the next 3 months are editing, fine tuning, rewriting and finally coming up with exactly the book I want to write. Then of course there’s the next 3 months of re-editing, rewriting, re-polishing and finally getting it ready for publication.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I’m retired from my former job (working in a law office) and work from home as Publisher for Books We Love Ltd., so my hours are erratic. We have authors in the UK and Australia, and sometimes I like to be able to correspond with them in real time (so that they’re not always having to wait an entire day to hear back from me) which means often I’ll get up at 2 or 3 in the morning and work until 6 or 7 and then go back to bed. When I’m writing I tend to write in the evenings while my husband is watching television, and then again in late morning when co-author Jamie Hill will send me back a piece she’s worked on or an update of one we’re doing together, and then of course I have to get right to that. As I said, a very erratic schedule.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I have a pretty good idea of what my characters are going to be doing and how the story is generally progressing, but definitely I have characters who do not follow through on ideas that I have, or don’t deal with things the way I originally wanted them to, they’re influenced by actions of other characters, and stuff that just seems to materialize and demand to be included. Lot’s of stuff like that. Always lots of voices demanding attention – mine, Jamie’s, Kelly’s, Stella’s Gillian’s. Oh I could go on and on, but hopefully I’ve whet your appetite and you’ll read the books.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written five books, Deadly Secrets, Deadly Betrayal and Deadly Consequences (all part of the original Kelly McWinter PI mystery series), as well as Sisters of Prophecy, Ursula – written with paranormal authors Gail Roughton, and Bad Medicine a novella featuring a Metis youth support worker. Deadly Secrets, my original, and the book that introduces Kelly and Cam and Bubba and Stella is probably my favorite, but maybe that’s just because I have a soft spot for those Texas Creek folks.
Who is your favorite author?
Rex Stout, known as the Grand Master of the American Detective novels and the creator of the Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin characters has always been my favorite.
What is a favorite childhood memory you can share with us?
I grew up in rural Alberta, Canada. Back in the 1950s, my younger brother and I used to climb up in the hayloft of our family barn on cold winter nights and dig down into the hay to keep warm while we watched the Northern Lights dancing across the sky. That’s an unforgettable memory, I’ve never seen anything like the way they looked back then and don’t suppose I ever shall again.
Open your most recent story to page 12 and tell us the fifth complete sentence on the page.
New Directions (print version): So as long as he tended to business and kept Marcy safe, it sounded like just the kind of adventure he and his newlywed bride would thoroughly enjoy.
What genres do you like to read?
Mystery, paranormal romance, romantic suspense
What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?
How extremely difficult it is for even the most talented authors to get their books in front of the reading public. Amazingly talented authors are so often overlooked in favor of the big $$$ names promoted by multi-national corporations whose main concern is how much money the book will add to the bottom line, not how much reading pleasure the book will give to the reading public.
One experience we had back in 2010 when Amazon was having their fight with the big 5, Books We Love was newly formed as a sole proprietorship and I released the back-lists of several of our very experienced authors who had been writing for a long time. Those books in the next two months went to the top of the lists and stayed there for weeks, right up until Amazon buried the hatchet with Hachette. It was so rewarding.
Of course Amazon, in typical corporate raider style changed their algorithms so that our books disappeared and the big 5 offerings dominated the list (did I mention they have to pay a certain commission to Amazon to get them there) and of course all the promotions we’d been doing by letting readers sample one or two of each author’s books for free, got split off into a different list, and basically hidden from view. It wasn’t long before our books disappeared from the front pages and we’ve had to fight for every bit of exposure on Amazon ever since. Of course, Books We Love authors write exceptionally good books, which is exactly why we’re still writing and still publishing. Fortunately we have enough fans out there who know how good our authors are and what great books they write, so that Amazon – even after buying up a bunch of small publishers to make another grab at monopolizing the market – still haven’t been able to bury us. All of our authors are seasoned veterans, they’ve been writing for years, and most of us are women, used to dealing with corporate raiders and bullies.
Well, there you have it. Our own Jude Pittman is a (not so secret anymore) fan of Rex Stout, paranormal romance and romantic suspense novels, and watching the northern lights while snuggled down in hay. Sounds like a perfectly nice way to spend an evening, or five.