Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I graduated from Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and moved to Colorado for my first job, which was with the State of Colorado. I worked as an environmental engineer in both state and then local government for over 20 years.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
The Plateau – voices of the earth is about two women who meet on a plateau “where past, present, and futures meet and linear time has no meaning.” Catherine is an environmental engineer from today’s world and Keitha is from 200 years in the future. The only things the two have in common are; genetics, their two dogs, and the fact that if they don’t find a way to trust each other, they will both die.
The book actually started as a short story. I had written throughout my career but technical writing is not the same as writing fiction and I thought a short story would be a way to get used to the process of writing fiction again. After I hit a certain number of pages, and was far from done, I knew it wasn’t a short story any more. I went back and broke what I had written into chapters and continued on.
How do you create your characters?
Some characters start out as a clear concept in my mind, and they get fleshed out as I write. In The Plateau-voices of the earth I wanted an environmental engineer as one of the main characters, go figure. The creation of Catherine led to some of the other characters that she works with; a lawyer, a biologist, a computer programmer. There were other characters that evolved with the story, they fit.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
The world around us. Nature can be resilient, but we are at a critical threshold where people have to actively help protect what we have left. I used to write short stories, but I stopped when I was in college, always thinking that one day I would go back to it, and I finally did.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
Our house has a great open loft space with a window that lets the natural light come in.
I need coffee first thing in the morning, followed by a walk with my dog, but while I am writing the house is silent.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I draw on what I know but I do a lot of research. At times I just need to fill in some data or a memory gap. Other times the seed of an idea leads me into a whole new area that I was only tangentially aware of. So sometimes my writing informs my research and at other times my research informs my writing.
What do you like to read?
Mysteries, historical fiction, supernatural, any combination of those, and other genres crop up, usually based on recommendations of friends.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
I would encourage aspiring authors to write. I know, that is said a lot, but writers need to write. The other thing is rewrite and rewrite. I would recommend trying to get to the end, or what you think is the end, before going back to rewrite. I found myself rewriting while I was still writing the first draft and it was a time drain. Have I been able to follow my own advice on Book 2 of the Plateau? I actively try, and yet sometimes I fail.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I think the interview questions have already focused on a lot of good topics.