Current Release: TATTOOED, book #3 of the Kate Lange thriller series
Describe your current release in two sentences?
When a mummified body is found on the outskirts of Halifax, rumours run wild about the victim. But celebrity tattoo artist Kenzie Sloane knows who it is -- and she is being stalked by the killer to fullfill a dark promise inked in her skin that only the murder of Kate Lange can satisfy.
Please describe your writing environment.
I have written my series in a variety of places: coffee shops, libraries, my bedroom, my dining room... wherever I can hook up my computer and not be disturbed (and drink my coffee!). Recently, I've set up a permanent spot in my basement. I always believed I needed to have a window for "deep thinking" purposes, but I've discovered that's not the case.
Behind my workstation, my husband mounted a five-foot wide cork board. It's my "happiness" board -- filled with cards from friends and drawings by my kids, and a few starfish from Sanibel Island. And, of course, I have my pug's bed by the foot of my desk. She's too big to fit between my keyboard and my lap, so she hangs out there and keeps my muse amused.
What are you working on?
The fourth book of the Kate Lange series! :) I just finished plotting out the premise, and I can't wait to dig in.
What do you feel blessed with?
My husband, my two daughters, my family, my friends, and of course, my pug.
What was your childhood ambition?
To be a writer. And a vet. Now I'm a writer who has dogs in her books (grin).
If you had to choose one person to have dinner with, who would it be? And why?
William Shakespeare. I would love to hear about his writing process, his sources of inspiration, and savour being in the presence of someone whose gift for prose has given the English language so many turns of phrase.
What is your favorite TV show?
Ooh... that's a tough one. Probably not what you might think a thriller writer would watch. I don't watch crime or law shows, mainly so that I can keep my own stories and characters fresh in my mind. I love HBO series, in particular True Blood, Rome, and Game of Thrones. On cable TV, I enjoy competition performance shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol. And there's a great new comedy on CBC called Mr. D. It's sort of like "The Office" but set in a private school. Great deadpan humour.
What career fields have you worked in?
I started in law, but then completed a Master's of Public Administration, and worked as a manager in the Strategic Services group of Accenture, a global consulting firm.It was the experience of working in a blue-chip corporate environment that inspired my thriller series.
Where do you want to travel?
Everywhere! :) Top five destinations: Japan, South Africa, Egypt, California, Europe.
How do you mesh your personal and professional life?
Maybe you should ask my husband (grin). Seriously, I'm a typical member of the sandwich generation, multitasking like crazy. My widowed dad is in poor health, and I have two busy teens. I work while the kids are at school, then drive my kids to all their activities and make supper, then hand off the driving to my husband when he comes home, and I work for a few more hours in the evening. I usually work weekends, as well, and have my father over for supper several times a week. The biggest challenge is seeing my friends.
What are your plans for the summer? Any books you are looking forward to?
The summer is a busy time because I usually have a release in June. I am really looking forward to my Halifax launch, because it is an opportunity to celebrate all that hard work with my readers, friends, and family. I am attending Book Expo America in June (can't wait!) to do some signing events for TATTOOED and to participate in the launch of the International Thriller Writers' THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER anthology, in which I have story. Then I head to Thrillerfest in New York City in July (can't wait for that, either!) which is simply one of the best conferences out there. Thrillerfest will also host some special events for the LOVE IS MURDER anthology. Between those events, I'll be doing a number of local events. And, of course, writing the first draft of the fourth book of my series.
I usually take two weeks off in the summer to go on a camping vacation with my husband and kids -- one of our favourite vacations! I'm looking forward to reading the latest thrillers that I will pick up at Thrillerfest!
How was your road to publication? Have you every had to deal with rejection letters?
My road to publication was pretty typical: bumpy, long, and littered with rejection letters (grin). In short, it took eight years, many contest entries, even more revisions, and two completed manuscripts to get published. My first novel was in the historical genre, and it was the book where I learned how to construct a story, how to revise, how to keep going in the face of rejection. After multiple rounds of contests, I eventually won a few, got an agent in NYC, had requests from editors, and the book went as far as the Acquisitions level in a major publishing house. But that was as far as it went. I shelved the sequel I was working on, switched genres and wrote DAMAGED, which I sold by pitching to my editor at a conference in Surrey, B.C.
In terms of rejection letters, I've had every type: the form response paper clipped to my query, the personalized but still general rejection, and the personalized, "love your writing but not interested in this story -- do you have anything else you can send us" rejection. One thing I have learned is that being rejected doesn't mean that particular door is forever closed. Persistence is key. So is self-improvement. If you can combine the two, you'll very likely succeed.
Do you have a favorite time of the day? If so when and why
LOL, I was just telling my husband that it is sad that my favourite time of day is bed time! But it's true. I love going to bed. I have a very comfy bed, and I enjoy just letting the day slowly fade away...knowing that I'll wake up the next day, recharged and rarin' to go!
What is the one thing you do not want to live without?
What has been the best way for you to engage readers?
Face to face is the best. I love meeting people. But I know it isn't possible to meet all my readers face-to-face, so I keep a pretty good dialogue going on my Facebook author page. I also try to respond to every email I receive from my readers.
What is the best thing about being an author?
Connecting with people. It is really amazing that the part of yourself that you share in your books can resonate with all kinds of people, in many different countries. As an author, I get to have a dialogue with my readers about some pretty deep questions about right and wrong, black and white, good and evil, life and death.
Thank you so much for having me on Night Owl Reviews. I really enjoyed your questions! I'm very excited about the release of TATTOOED, the third book of my thriller series, because I had the opportunity to explore a few things that had fascinated me for a while: the forensic anthropology behind a cold case, tattoos, and the destructive nature of obsession. I loved interweaving the cold case with the present day stalking case, and I hope readers will enjoy it, too!
All my best,