About the author:
A writer and editor for more years than I care to admit, I’ve worked for and had articles published in magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom, ranging from Vogue to Multichannel Merchant. A native of Philadelphia, I lived for three years in North Devon, the area of England where my novel Beyond Billicombe takes place, and where I dream of returning—much to the dismay of my husband and daughter, who are quite happy with our current residence in Connecticut. In addition to Beyond Billicombe, I wrote two nonfiction children's books and contributed to Walford State of Mind, a book about EastEnders.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I generally have the beginning, the end, and several key scenes mapped out before I hit the keyboard, but from there it’s a matter of getting from one of those key scenes to the next, rather like plotting out a graph
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
Always—but since it is their story, I figure they’re entitled!
What is your favourite food?
Sushi, fish and chips, and strawberry laces.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
My natural inclination is to sleep for three or four hours in the day and three or four at night… though sadly that schedule doesn’t work well with a day job.
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I’d love to see more of Northern Europe—Greenland, Norway, Finland, Estonia—as well as New Zealand and Patagonia. And as my daughter is from China, we’re hoping to go back there in a few years.
Do distant places feature in your books?
Not really; I tend to stick with places I’m familiar with. There are so many other “foreign” elements in play when writing fiction—characters to get to know, motivations to understand, details that can make or break the plot—that I find it grounding to have a setting that is well known to me.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Never! Too distracting.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
At its heart, Beyond Billicombe is a mystery: The protagonist, Suzanne, travels from her home in Los Angeles to Devon in search of her brother, who was living there when she last spoke to him six months earlier. But while Suzanne’s quest is the driver of the plot, the story is also about the families and identities we’re given and those we form for ourselves. That sounds a bit pretentious, though, so maybe I should just say it’s a fast-moving contemporary mystery with heart and leave it at that!
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
That you have to be thick-skinned enough not to let criticism hurt you too much, but at the same time you can’t be arrogant enough to assume that all criticism is wrong.
Is there anything you would do differently?
I stopped writing fiction altogether for about seven years when I first became a mum, as I was juggling parenthood with a very demanding full-time job and a fair amount of freelance work. Ideally I’d have cut back on the freelance work so that I could continue writing fiction, but hey ho…
Who or what, if anything, has influenced your writing?
Richard Price’s early books, especially Bloodbrothers and Ladies’ Man, were a big influence, as was Jim Carroll’s The Basketball Diaries. They really proved to me that everyday language has a poetry of its own.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Keep plugging along, but only write if you enjoy it; there are so many things we have to do that it’s silly to write if you don’t love doing so.
What are three words that describe you?
Anxious, imaginative, short.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
Just one? Impossible. I’ll give you a handful of favourite books: Bloodbrothers, The Basketball Diaries, Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas, A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell, The Oracle Glass by Judith Merkle Riley, Playing the Jack by Mary Brown, and Harpo Speaks by Harpo Marx.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book:
Suzanne has come to Billicombe, a faded English resort town on the Bristol Channel, for one simple reason: to find her adored older brother. A recovering addict, Jax had moved to Billicombe after completing rehab, but it’s been six months since Suzanne last heard from him. Her search, however, turns out to be anything but simple. For one thing, Suzanne is a former child actress, well known for her role on a long-running TV series, and she needs to avoid being recognized while exploring Billicombe’s seamy underside. For another, Richard, a local man Suzanne turns to for help, has problems of his own stemming from a car accident that cost him much of his memory. Suzanne’s quest for Jax and Richard’s attempt to put his life back together collide in ways neither could have expected.
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web:
Thank you, Sherry and good luck with all your books :)