What was the most interesting tidbit(s) that you learned while writing A Memory Between Us?
I’m a pharmacist, so I really enjoyed learning about medical care. The most interesting tidbit I found was a picture of nurses washing, drying, and patching latex gloves! In today’s “Universal Precautions,” disposable society, that really fascinated me. So I included a scene where Ruth and her friend May are washing gloves.
How many titles will be in this series?
Three. A Distant Melody came out in March 2010, A Memory Between Us comes out in September 2010, and the third book comes out August 2011.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Life. We have a middle-schooler, a high-schooler, and our oldest son will be going away to college this fall. They’re active, so that means I live in my car. And we have a yellow lab who wants to play, play, play. This past year I’ve also made the transition from casual writer to professional author. Although I’ve always put a lot of hours into my writing, my mindset has had to change.
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
There’s so much. I love the research, the planning, the drafts, and the editing. I’m not as fond of publicity, but I do enjoy public speaking and meeting my readers. The most exciting part has been reader reactions—when a friend clutches my book to her chest and says, “I didn’t want it to end. I feel like your characters are my friends.” And even more amazing, when total strangers like the book!
What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in between?)
I’m definitely an outline-oriented writer. That’s the science nerd in me. First of all, I do lots of research beforehand—not only does this let me know if my story idea will even work historically, but it gives me ideas for scenes, problems, and characters. Then I fill out character charts (I love character charts!) and a plot chart which helps me track subplots and story arcs. Then come scene lists with everything from the date, the weather, what characters are wearing, goals and conflict, what’s happening historically, and an outline of the scene. Finally I get to my rough draft.
Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?
Despite my outlining, yes, they do! Some of my favorite scenes happen when my characters take over. They often add a special twist I hadn’t thought of—but I always let them take over. And yes, as a pharmacist, I know there are medications for my condition.