Why I Write the Way I Write
My novels have many of my own experiences in them and probably more than I even realize. Many of the characters are a combination of people I’ve encountered through-out my lifetime. Only I know who they are, but I must admit some must be coming from my subconscious, as I’ve asked myself, where did they come from? The character and voice of that character sounds familiar. So to try to sue me over any resemblance would be futile when I don’t even have a clue myself.
I’m a people person. I wasn’t born that way. I sort of evolved into myself. I am one of those people who you might say never met a stranger. I’ve been caught many times staring at people in public, and I don’t mean to stare. It maybe the person’s profile that I’m attracted to for a portrait, or a photo, or may even be bits and pieces of a new character to a novel I have in mind. However, not even one of my characters is solely from one person. Each character is formed from the masses of people I’ve known or have come in contact with over the years. For instance, their looks, their characteristics, the way they walk, or their actions, so one character maybe a vortex of numerous people.
I was born and raised in Oklahoma. After my second marriage, my husband and I moved to St. Louis and lived there for about a year and a half. We then moved our family to Mississippi. In 2006 we built the home of our dreams out in the country. We are surrounded by the woods. It is very peaceful here. We are so far out in the boonies that we had to have a well dug for water. The internet and television is by satellite. We do have electricity though. : ) I love the southern way of life.
I love writing southern Gothic mystery/thriller, a dab of romance, and a lot of humor. That's also the kind of books I love to read. John Grisham is one of my favorite authors. I also enjoy Billie Letts and Fannie Flagg.
Happy Valley (A Southern Country Novel) the first in the series was fun to write. Some of Jo’s characteristics are my own as are most of my main characters. She wasn’t popular in school and was picked on by many of her peers. Today they call it bullying. I'm thankful to all of those who bullied me in school. If it hadn't been for them, I'm might not have the thick skin that I do today.
Although Jo graduated high school, I did not. I dropped out after I'd finished tenth grade. I later studied hard and acquired my GED. I didn't finish college though. I continued to study, mostly from books I'd checked out at the library as continuing college was out of the question for me with having four young children at home and one vehicle. Since my husband was providing for our family, he had dibs on the car.
I was never stalked by a serial killer like Jo, at least not to my knowledge. I have, on the other hand, felt evil following me around all through my childhood and youth. It wasn’t until I was much older that I understood exactly what that was.
Jo’s guardian angel, Joseph, I can relate to. I’ve only seen my guardian angel once, but I know he’s always there. I was in the hospital close to death when he appeared to me. Of course, I recovered. Joseph was mostly behind the scenes, unseen, but always foiling the serial killer's attempt to do Jo harm.
Jo’s search for love was another relatable characteristic. Many people have that same need, especially if they’ve come from a very dysfunctional home. Don’t misunderstand me. I love my parents. God placed me in their care for a reason, and I trust His judgment. It'll all get sorted out later.
Jo's relationship with God is on and off as it sometimes is with people in real life. We all get busy with our day to day lives and some times God is placed on hold until an emergency arises. Sad to say, but with many people that's true. I'm guilty of this, too. We all learn as we go.
Jo is an artist. I’m an artist. Jo loves photography. So do I. (I do my own cover work for my novels.) Jo overcomes in the end. I like to think that I’ll beat out the evil that has pursued me all of my life in then end of my own story.
Mississippi Gambler (A Southern Country Novel) the second in the series shows a wilder side of Jo. There are quite a few tales I could share here about myself—but I won’t.
She has a loss in this novel that I can relate to. It’s a loss I’ve never overcome and don’t expect to in this lifetime. The hurt is too deep. I just keep on moving forward. That’s all I can do. Her wild side is her way of running from her emotional pain. She also takes a big gamble in returning home. From the time she'd left home, she'd gambled with her choices and then later with her life.
The main plot in this story is another thing I can relate to—as a victim, not a perpetrator. My childhood was not a pretty one. Sexual, physical, and emotional abuse is horrendous. I feel for any child that has suffered. I feel for those who that have suffered as children and can’t seem to overcome it in their adult lives. It takes courage and the right kind of support to get through it and be able to function and go on to have a happy and functional life.
Faded Rose was the first novel I had written. I didn’t publish it first though. It sat in my computer for so long that I had to make changes to it by adding cell phones and clothing descriptions. I wrote Faded Rose as a form of therapy. Rose’s first marriage crumbled similarly to the way mine did. Of course, the main characters were exaggerated as well as the plot. I was never charged with murder nor did I know anyone who had been murdered. But Rose, on the other hand, has many of my characteristics. She worked hard and had dreams and eventually let those dreams go by the wayside and just lived from day to day. She didn’t believe in a happy ever after.
I've had a very similar encounter with Mother Nature as did Rose, and as a result of that, I had nightmares for years.
Check out Faded Rose's book trailer on YouTube.
A Vanilla Christmas has the fear of being heartbroken again and the fear to trust again, but yet Lily is fearless in the face of so much more. I can relate. There are some days that I pick and choose what I’m fearlessly up against and other days where I’d just as soon cover my head and stay in bed. I prefer the days that I pick the fight against my invisible foe and win. Those days I hit replay to Roar by Katy Perry over and over again.
Famous in a Small Town (An Entering Southern Country Novel) the first in the trilogy has very little that I can relate to. Famous in a Small Town’s story is dark in so many areas that it frightened me, but I had so much enjoyment in writing it. I loved inventing the plots and the twists and the turns. I spent many sleepless nights envisioning them. Of all the novels I’ve written so far, Famous in a Small Town is my favorite. I especially enjoyed writing Callie’s POV (point of view). Although she is not the main character, her role is vital to the plot in this novel. After I’d finished the novel and after it’d been edited, I read it through one final time. I couldn’t believe the character, Callie, came from my head. It had me shaking my own head and wondering how such a character lived inside of my head. Was she someone I invented or someone from my subconscious? Hopefully, someone I invented. She is, however, a force to be reckoned with.
I’m currently working on several projects. One is the third in the series to A Southern Country Novel and the other is the second in An Entering Southern Country Novel trilogy. Also I should be wrapping up Remember When soon.
I've had several friends who know my life story approach me and say that I should write a biography of my life. My response is always the same, "I'd rather not relive it, thank you." But I do relive it a piece at a time in my novels.
Please check out Famous in a Small Town book trailer video on Youtube.
Life would be so very dull without humor. Laugh and laugh a lot. It's good for the soul.