|The author creating a glass bead.|
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I was never sure I wanted to be an author until I finished writing my first book, High Strung. I know it sounds strange, but I wrote my first book as an experiment and an intellectual challenge. My sister-in-law had written a few books during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo,) and she loved the challenge of writing 50,000 words in a single month. When November rolled around, I decided to give it a try. Once I started writing, I was hooked. I find writing very therapeutic—it keeps me out of trouble. Not that I’d get into any actual trouble, but it does help my brain by giving it a puzzle to work on every day.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I started out as indie published with High Strung and was picked up by a traditional publisher about six months after my book’s first release. Working with the publisher’s editors, graphic designers, and production team was a wonderful experience. Sadly, though, they went out of business as I was getting ready to launch the third book in my series, Off the Beadin’ Path. After that, I decided to return to indie publishing and could not be happier with that decision.
Where do you write?
I write at my desk in my home office. It’s the perfect place for me to write a crafty mystery, with creative inspiration all around me—piles of beads, fun paintings on the walls, and a closet overflowing with craft projects. I often have to clear beads and other artistic flotsam from my desk to make room for some serious, well, maybe not so serious, writing.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I often wear my headphones and turn on soothing music without lyrics, like ambient music, meditation tunes, acoustic guitar, or piano when I’m writing. I save the rowdy 1980s rock music for the studio when I am making glass beads and jewelry.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
Much of my work has been drawn from real life—all except for the murders. I was inspired to write the Glass Bead Mystery Series after spotting the perfect murder weapon in a glass blowing studio. That weapon and its surrounding plot landed in Off the Beadin’ Path, the third novel in the series. There are several characters who are combinations of various bead-obsessed people I know, and the settings are certainly drawn from real like: a bead store, a bead bazaar (like a craft fair), a glass blowing studio, and a gallery, for example.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Val, Jax’s next-door neighbor, has too many quirks to name. Most recently she was obsessed with fad diets, including the Werewolf Diet (you can’t eat when there’s a full moon), Sleeping Beauty Diet (you can’t eat if you sleep all the time), and the Day of the Week Diet (you can only eat foods that start with the same first letter of the day of the week—Friday you can eat figs, fudge, and French fries.)
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I can’t stand it when people say “It is was it is.” What does that even mean? Everything is what it is, by definition. I’m getting worked up just thinking about it.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Do I get a hut? Do I have electricity? I’ll assume it’s pretty basic on my little island paradise. I’d say: crunchy snacks, a stack of mystery novels (maybe some set in a tropical location,) and cooler full of mojitos.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
My favorite book is Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold. It’s an historical mystery/thriller. The book is about a magician, and ultimately, the whole book is one big magic trick. You’ll have to read it to understand what I mean. And if you do, please let me know what you think.
Ocean or mountains?
I’m pretty much an ocean person. I grew up in Southern California, and the beach was a big part of my life. I love snorkeling and have had many magical experiences swimming with sea turtles in Maui.
What’s on the horizon for you?
At this point I am shifting gears and starting to write a new series. I have a draft of the first book, but it needs quite a bit of work before it will be ready for publication. It’s a bit too early to talk much about that series. I can tell you it will be in the cozy mystery genre and won’t have anything to do with beads.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I’ve been writing fiction for seven years, though I wrote technical training documentation in the software industry for 30 years before that. I have a husband and a grown daughter, and I live a pretty normal life in the San Francisco Bay Area. I love working from home, tending my garden and chickens, and sitting on my back deck on warm evenings and having a glass of wine. I have two cats: Max and Leo, named after Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom from Mel Brooks’ movie and play The Producers. When I’m not writing, I’m in my glass studio playing with fire.
To Bead or Not to Bead
A Glass Bead Mystery, Book 4
When a wealthy theater owner is killed by a falling art glass chandelier, glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell’s boyfriend, Detective Zachary Grant, quickly determines it was no accident. Jax and her friend Tessa try to carry on with a charity fashion gala at the theater, but with only a few days before the big event, they have to scramble to keep things from falling apart. The emcee quits, and to make matters worse, Tessa’s daughters are suspects in the murder. As the chaos unfolds, Jax discovers new suspects at every turn, including an edgy glass blower, an agoraphobic socialite, and a hunky former-cop-turned-actor. Can Jax piece together the clues to find the killer and uncover the dark secrets behind the victim’s family or will it be curtains for her?