Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do? Or is it something that you started fairly recently?
I started writing fourteen years ago. I was 49 at the time and was finally ready to settle down. I’d always planned on writing fiction, but when I was young I lacked the patience, commitment, and frankly, the kind of life’s knowledge it takes to make a novel come to life.
Tell me a little about your books.
I like to write about everyday people caught up in life-changing situations, to give the reader something to think about. Like, What would I do if this were happening to me?
Are there any authors who inspire you?
Discovering Raymond Chandler put me on track. This was quite a few years ago and I’d just read an article in the Los Angeles Times commemorating the centennial of his birth. The article’s description of Chandler’s years in Los Angeles were similar to what I saw growing up in nearby Orange County. Different time and place, but alike in many ways regarding an exploding population and the changes that accompany it. That’s what got me interested, and when I picked up a copy of The Big Sleep I was immediately hooked on Chandler’s writing. I got the feeling right away that he wasn’t really writing a mystery, but rather using the genre as a means to write what he cared about. That’s when I realized genre doesn’t matter—it’s the writing.
How do you write? Do you make yourself write a certain number of words per day?
When I’m working on a book, especially the first draft, I need to put in at least five hours a day. After that I start to burn out. I don’t worry too much about word count.
Did you try to get a conventional publisher or agent interested before you opted for self-publishing?
I went through the usual frustrations trying to interest a publisher and/or agent. I finally had enough and decided to rewrite Ocean Boulevard, my first book. This time I wrote it my way, and it came out very close to the first draft, the way it was before I changed it a million times reacting to the vague criticisms attached to some of the rejections I received. Somehow I was able to format the manuscript into a readable version for the Kindle reader. All of a sudden, writing was fun again. I got better at formatting, got involved with my cover artwork with the help of a friend who knows her way around Photoshop, and found that another friend of mine also happens to be a great editor.
What goals have you set yourself? Do you want to sell a certain number of books in 2012? Is there some way you measure success, on your own terms?
My only goal right now is to finish my next novel by this Fall.
How have you marketed your books?
I just put up a website and opened a Twitter account. I haven’t finished the website or posted any tweets, but these things will come.
Do you worry about Amazon gaining a monopoly in the ebook market?
I don’t worry about Amazon. I hope they keep doing what they’re doing.