Tell a little bit about yourself, where you grew up, etc.
Born in Rochester, New York where I spent most of my early childhood along with fading memories of Fort Devens Massachusetts, our family finally settled in Ithaca, New York- the setting for my first novel, Straight Up.  After earning a B.A. in English with a teacher’s certification from Fredonia’s State University of New York and spending a year in Buffalo, I eventually made my way to the Boston area and picked up a Masters degree in Literacy and Language Arts from Framingham State University as I began my teaching career. The last several years have been devoted to raising a family and pursuing the dream of becoming a novelist. Though tremendously successful on those fronts thus far, selling a book in an extremely down market is an entirely different story. My hope is to be just successful enough to allow me to continue to do this crazy thing called writing.

How did you develop an interest in writing? Did you go to school for writing?

My debut novel, For the Love of Art, is dedicated to my school librarian grandmother who first passed down her profound fondness for literature and education. With a mother who kept me immersed in books and a father who nurtured my interest in poetry, it is no wonder that writing became a favored activity. After being editor of my high school literary magazine, I went on to pursue writing for my college newspaper. There I was narrowly reprimanded before the entire newspaper staff because my journalistic style of reporting the police beat was apparently overly creative and made my news stories seem fabricated. Though I concurred, the dreaded task of merely reporting the facts sent me packing for more liberal pastures. I have written poetry and prose sporadically over the years, and now with three novel length manuscripts, find myself pining after a fourth. If only the business of publishing were not so all consuming. I guess I will just have to be content for now to let that next book percolate among my thoughts a while longer.

Who is your favorite author(s) and what is your favorite book?

I am so not good with favorites. Always reading something, I often find myself having “I’m-not-worthy” moments as I amble my way in awe over the pages of another author’s cunningly lucid descriptions. Though I do have a penchant for contemporary fiction, I read all kinds of things. This year my favorite novels are The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, Shelter Me by Juliette Fay, The story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, and The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. If I had to pick a favorite book that truly stands the test of time, my mind would dance over everything from The Lorax to Catcher in the Rye, or anything Shakespeare to The Diary of Ann Frank before comfortably landing on To Kill a Mockingbird.

After three books, how have you evolved as an author since your first book?

I began writing Straight Up over a decade ago, and I am still revising it. That book had a plan. I developed a detailed outline and really took my time fleshing out the plot. It was a hobby, a far away dream, something I coveted in stolen nooks of time between teaching English, attending graduate school and being a young mother. For the Love of Art began as both my kids attended full day school granting me huge chunks of time to write and was a personal release and tribute to that fleeting time in our lives when motherhood blended so tenderly with the joy of those first years. Really, what started as a private journal ended up as the first chapter of a book that beyond that, the thing seemed to write itself. One fated character’s point of view after another literally picked up after where the previous one left off until all ten of them completed spinning a tale of intrigue, entertaining and profound. It was so thrilling to get lost in that creative process that so finely brings clarity of mind and focus of purpose. It is powerfully addicting. I want to write all the time. The same is true for how Surrender Flash came to be, though I challenged myself differently with the organization of storytelling. Again, there are multiple points of view, but they do not overlap in a way that propels the plot forward. Instead, they probe deeper into separate atmospheres where the reader must wait in haunt for a massive collision. Almost a thriller, the spookiness of this literary novel surprised even me.

What is For the Love of Art about? Who is your target audience? What was your goal/purpose for the book?

A novel of hope, this literary mystery is about three mothers (writer/teacher, travel agent & financier) who become embroiled in an art heist while vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard sans children. Ironically, their retreat  turns into a pointed quest giving them an intimate look at some of the local islanders. The cast includes love’s lost painter, a visceral and passionate sculptor, a besieged yet epiphanous poet, an introspective detective, an art teacher, a salacious reporter and a homeless man. Though the book bestows honor to motherhood and circles around the value of art, education and society, these diverse characters navigate readers of varying taste through a twisty storyline for all to relish.  It is my hope that people will not only be entertained but better value what seems most basic in life, recognize their part in tending our earth, raising its children and ultimately feel compelled to preserve art that moves us and validates our worth. For the love of art, people must read it!

What words of advice or wisdom do you have for aspiring authors?

Follow your own heart drum. It’s important to write about what you know in your heart to be true. With so much negativity about the economy and dooming words about how print is dying, it is nearly impossible not to absorb such stifling chatter. In spite of the stone cold anonymous face of the publishing industry, if writing is in you, you must free it and do it because you love to write and have something to tell. Only after you have completed your masterpiece, for the love of art, should you agonize over how to go about piercing a market clad with impenetrable locks and barriers. Upon your final rejection (You’ll know it’s the last one because you will have lost count, stopped keeping track, and feel as though your manuscript might actually combust inside your computer from all the pointless friction of fingertips upon keyboard, or worse the quaking inside of you because of the relentless silence of publishers and agents who blatantly claim no time to respond personally to the 300 plus queries they receive on a weekly basis.) you can polish your work as well as a professional editor and publish it your own self. Name yourself “Heart Drum Press” and they just might follow your beat. Then next year, ask for my advice again.

What are your plans for the future?

For the Love of Art is my debut into the bursting at the seams world of print. With any luck and sustained support for this title, I plan to bring Straight Up to the press in 2012 and follow it up with Surrender Flash. I am also looking forward to returning to academia as an English teacher after a long hiatus. My timing is tragic. With my district having pink-slipped over thirty teachers, though recently rehired some of them, it’s not a likely scenario here or anywhere within commuting range. Good thing I have another book inside my head. Yes, that was sarcastic even though I really do. It promises to be a saga of Forrest Gump proportion. Mmm, chocolate . . .

















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