How many books have you published?
I have three books out, two mysteries and a travelogue. Down and Out in Kathmandu: A
My travelogue, Notes of a Naive Traveler, is a series of excerpts from a travel journal I kept while volunteering in Kathmandu and backpacking through Nepal and Thailand.
How did you become interested in writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, though in my younger years I focused on poetry and short stories, mostly mysteries. One of my favorite childhood memories is of thinking up storylines and plot twists with my father. During college I majored in journalism and worked as a columnist, investigative journalist and newspaper editor before life took me in other directions. I didn’t seriously consider writing a novel until my father died. Completing a full-length work of fiction was my way of honoring his memory. It took eight years, but I know he would be proud I finished it.
What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening, etc?
My writing schedule has evolved with each book. I wrote Down and Out in Kathmandu in the evenings and weekends over an eight year period. The Lover’s Portrait was written during my infant son’s nap time and ultimately took four years. Now that he is at school fulltime, I have five hours, four days a week to work. As a result, Notes of a Naive Traveler was complete within seven months and my current novel will be finished within two years.
I usually dedicate the morning to writing. After a late lunch, I spend time on marketing, update my website, and write blog posts, articles for magazines or interviews. A few evenings a week, I’ll crawl behind the computer and catch up on social media. Somehow the wash and vacuuming gets done, though don’t ask me when!
Do you plot the entire book first, then write or plot as you go?
I’m a big believer in writing up a tight outline before beginning the first draft. It takes a lot of time to work out all of the details and twists, but I’ve found it to be a crucial step. When I have a clear idea of where the story is going, I’m more apt to jump behind the computer or pull out my notebook, than when it is still floating around in my head. Once the first draft is complete, I’ll reevaluate the characters, settings and plot twists, allowing myself to tear out or change any elements that feel unnecessary or are misleading.
Do you use real people and places as models for your books?
I am an avid traveler and love to infuse my writing with experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met while backpacking around the world. It is important to me that the setting be described as accurately as possible. I want readers to have the feeling they have just visited the city, country or region I’m describing in my book.
None of my characters are modeled after an actual person – not even Zelda – but are conglomerates of people I’ve met on the road, at work or even a bus stop. I am fascinated by my fellow man and tend to start up conversations with pretty much everyone I meet.
Who is your favorite author?
That is an impossible question to answer! The three authors I’ve read the most of are Philip Kerr, Donna Leon and Janet Evanovich. I’ve recently discovered Victoria Blake and enjoyed reading both Titian’s Boatman and Jumping the Cracks.
How do you promote your books?
I promote my books on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram. A few months ago I started a Facebook group, Travel By Book, for readers and authors of travel fiction and non-fiction. It’s been a fun way to connect with new readers and find great books to read! Every few weeks I try and publish a short article on my blog providing more information about places, topics, events or people featured in one of my books. Those are always fun to write! I also reach out to book bloggers, use promotion websites and have a newsletter.
For a review of The Lover's Portrait: An Art Mystery, click here