How old were you when you first developed an interest in writing? What spurred you?
When I was a toddler, my grandfather and my mom told me wonderful stories. My mom made up a story about our dog who went to one of the big department stores to buy me a birthday present and had an adventure! I loved that one! So that’s how it all started… Then when I was about seven, at school, we created our own books, and even laminated them. This idea of actually becoming a writer intrigued me. But I was so shy at the time that the idea of sharing my work terrified me. So I wrote journals in high school. I wrote for myself. Once I was off to college, I started working at the student newspaper, and two key things happened: From all of the reporting assignments, I outgrew my shyness… and I realized that journalism would make a pretty good day job.
I've known many authors who say they can't read other authors' writing when they're writing for themselves. Is that true for you?
Sometimes, it can be very difficult. Mainly for this reason: When I read, the plot and characters really come to life. They become part of my world, and I think about them a lot. Therefore, if I’m writing at the time, I can get distracted by those thoughts. And that definitely can hurt creativity. So I still read, but I read in spurts, between projects, or I’ll quickly read a book during a three-day period when I’m not writing, for instance.
What was the inspiration for your story, "Hope" in Legacy?
In “Hope” I wanted to explore two main ideas. First, the idea of “home” and what it really means. Is it a place or is it a state of mind? I lost my mom six years ago, and I often say “I’m homesick for a place that no longer exists.” (That line might end up in one of my novels, fyi!) I also wanted to think about the idea of what we as mothers wish to leave behind for our children. While “Hope” isn’t autobiographical, a lot of my heart is in this story.
Author proceeds from Legacy go to PAWS for Reading. It's a great organization. How was it chosen?
Allison Hiltz, founder of The Book Wheel and our partner in this project, suggested it. Allison and Velvet Morning Press have two things in common: We love reading, and we love dogs! So we thought a charity that combines the two would be perfect. Through PAWS for Reading, children read aloud to a therapy dog (or cat, or bunny!) in order to improve reading and communication skills.
I know it's probably near impossible to choose, but what's one of your favorite stories from Legacy, and how/why did it resonate with you?
It is impossible to choose, mainly because each one is so different. I loved the narrative message in one, the rhythm of the sentences in another, the surprising structure of yet another. I loved the emotion – romance, rock and roll, sadness. And I loved the fact that each story kept me guessing.
What was the best part of putting Legacy together?
Working with authors and bloggers, and getting to know them. I love building new relationships with others who love to write or read, and this was the perfect opportunity.
What are a couple of the pros and cons of being an author and publisher in the age of social media?
Something very positive is being able to so easily reach out to readers and connect with readers… without having to travel! That is extremely helpful for new authors and small publishers, who don’t have the financial resources to spend on traveling around the country and beyond. Social media also gives us the opportunity to connect with other authors and that is so valuable. Writing can be lonely otherwise.
The negatives… Well, social media can be so distracting when you’re trying to write! It’s difficult to sit down and eliminate the noise. This is especially the case when juggling my career as an author with my publishing career. I can’t disappear for hours when a client might need me. The advantage of living in Paris, though, is the time zone. Since most of our activity happens across U.S. time zones, I can get good writing time in the mornings!
Who are some of our favorite spirited female characters?
Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Idgie in “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café”
Catherine in “Wuthering Heights”
What's the best book you've read this year?
I’ve read some wonderful novels this year… It’s hard to choose just one. But here’s one of the favorites.“Fugitive Colors” by Lisa Barr. It was recently released in paperback. The book is about a group of young artists torn apart during the atrocities the Nazi regime inflicted upon artists and art at the time of the Holocaust. It a story of love and humanity. Disturbing and beautiful.
What's your favorite bookish website or news outlet?
Electric Lit and Book Riot are two that I enjoy… I wish I had more time to read!