Gossiping and lying go hand in hand. Proverbs

Besides your granddaughter, Cait, who or what is your biggest source of inspiration and why?

Being out of doors and in a natural setting will set off my imagination. A bird gather materials for a nest, the sweet smell of cliff rose blooming in the spring, bees in the wisteria - any of these things might trigger a new thought. Even a heard of javelina digging up the earth in search of roots, their young ones trailing behind can provide inspiration for me.

Were you born naturally curious about all things magical? Or did you interest develop after a certain book or experience?

All children, I believe, are naturally curious. However, when I was very young, my mom often read fairy tales to me. My favorite ones were Rumpleskelskin and Puss N' Boots. When I was a bit older, she took me to the park and showed me how to build fairy houses. We'd gather a stack of small twigs, and then I'd watch while my mom turned those twigs into a magical village. When the sides of the houses were finished, my mom would top them off with a roof of thick green moss. If there were wild violets growing nearby, she'd transplant a clump of purple or yellow violets near the entrance to the houses. Who wouldn't develop a love of all things magical with this kind of influence as a child?

Did you want to be a writer even while working as a nurse? And do you think your experiences as a nurse have helped you develop your writing skills in any way?

Becoming a writer never occurred to me. I began to write stories to entertain my grandchildren. This was a few years before I retired from nursing. As a nurse, I did a lot of documentation. This taught me to be more observant in general and to hone in on the importance of details.

How old were you when you decided you wanted to write? Was there any external force, like a book or another author, that played a role in this decision?

As I mentioned earlier, I was close to retirement. My grandchildren were the spark behind my desire to write. They liked to make up stories on the spot, and I had fun listening to them tell their stories. Their creativity made me want make up stories for them, but I had to think about my stories; I needed to write them down. At the time I had no desire to do anything other than entertain my grandchildren. My daughter, however, encouraged me to publish, but when I thought about the length of time it might take to be accepted by a publisher, I abandoned the idea right away. My daughter didn't give up though. She called a subsidiary publishing house and gave them my phone number. That's how I became an author.

What, according to you, is the perfect environment for sitting down and getting motivated to write?

I like to write in the quiet of my home office or on my back porch, where I can see the distant mountains and listen to the birds twitter.

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?

Topaz is the hero of all my stories. I relate to him the most. Bozel, a young Green Fairy, is the second. I suppose that's because I've written thousands of words about each of these characters. When I write about characters, I put myself in their place. I imagine what they must feel and think. What do they feel when they're worried about something? How do they react when they're fearful? What's likely to make them angry and why? What are their values? Why are those things important to them?

What gave you the idea for your books in the Topaz series? Are you working on another book to add to the series at the moment?

My grandchildren have been my inspiration for writing from the beginning. Were it not for them, I'm sure I never would have gotten started. Writing the stories that will keep them wanting more is important. At the same time, I want to write the kind of stories I enjoyed growing up. As for the ideas for the books- when I sit down to write, I have a dilemma in mind. If it doesn't pan out, I go in another direction. Once I begin the writing process, it's mostly uphill from there. I have some ideas for another book, but I haven't begun to write just yet.

If you could read only one other author's books for the rest of your life, who would you pick?

That's a difficult question. I love fairy tales, fantasy, adventure, mystery and suspense. When I find an author I like, I usually read everything he or she has written before going to the next. I could never pick just one author.

If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be? The person can be a historical figure that's already passed, or anyone else from present time.

J.R.R. Tolkien would be my first choice. I've read that his ideas for the characters and the worlds he created began in his childhood. I'd love to hear about the stories that were yet to come.

When it comes to writing, what are some of your tips and practices to avoid or overcome writer's block?

Writing is a discipline. It's something a writer should practice every day. The more I write, the less likely I am to have a problem with writer's block.

How much time in a day do you dedicate to writing? And if you're not writing, what else do you like to do for fun?

When I'm working on a book, I start writing around mid-morning. Sometimes I stop for lunch, but many days I find myself doing lunch in front of the computer. Stopping time is anywhere between 5 and 6:30 PM. Most days I will spend six to eight hours writing. I'm fussy about how I keep my house, so, if I haven't done all I wanted by mid morning, I may take a few short breaks to finish up. Thursday is my official day off because I have a card group that meets at my house for Hand and Foot ( a game similar to canasta). I also love to read, watch movies, and go for long walks.

What is one thing that you've always wanted to do before you die but haven't managed to yet, due to limiting circumstances?

As a lover of cozy mysteries, I'd love to solve a fictional murder on the Orient Express.

What is one thing that you hope readers will always take away when they read your books?

I hope readers will carry away a genuine like for the characters and the stories I write. I also hope they'll be inspired to read other books. I hope they'll find reading an enjoyable enough experience to want to do it often.

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