Tell us a little bit about yourself, your books and any new projects you are working on.

I’m happy to report that I am now an Amazon #1 Bestselling Author. My debut novel, a thriller, The Girl Who Knew Too Much is about what happens when Fate catapults a homeless girl into a dangerous, clandestine world. What she learns could expose a major covert operation. I’ve introduced a shocking and ruthless new villain—Agent Nika Rolinska. I thoroughly enjoy the thriller genre, and am currently editing a not-yet-titled book 2 in this series, with many of the same characters readers enjoyed in the first book. I’m planning to publish next year.

1. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Wanting and deciding are two very different experiences. I’ve always loved reading, even as a child, but being a writer never occurred to me. I remember saying to my husband once, “It feels like there’s a book inside me that wants to get out.” I had no idea what the book was . . . and life has a way of moving on—motherhood, career, and an assortment of life’s sadnesses and joys. But that book inside periodically nudged me, until I finally decided if not now, when?

2. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?

I’ve been writing in earnest for five years. Before that I spent about ten years writing sporadically, reading about writing, and attending writing classes and workshops. I’ve written five books and published one.

3. What made you want to self-publish?

A combination of encouragement and frustration. A friend, and highly successful self-published author in the non-fiction arena read my book, loved it, and strongly encouraged me to go the self-publishing route. I had been diligently searching for an agent. Identifying and researching agents in my genre, following agencies differing submission guidelines, and writing customized query letters. There had been some interest here and there, but I realized that trying to find someone who could help me find a company to publish my book took up all my time and I wasn’t writing—the one thing I liked doing.

4. Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend Gatekeeper Press?

I’d recommend new authors take a look at the pros and cons of traditional publishing and self-publishing and see which works best for your goals, abilities, and resources. If  you’re not sure where to start gathering info, Jane Friedman is an excellent, ethical source for publishing information.

If you do choose the self-publishing route, I definitely recommend Gatekeeper Press. I had a great experience, and I think their Author Manager program sets them apart. They have an array of individual services or full publishing packages to choose from so you can select what fits your needs and budget. I’m a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, ALLi, and they currently rate Gatekeeper Press as Recommended which they define as: services that behave ethically and professionally, with pricing and value in line with industry norm.

5. What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?

Marketing has been my biggest challenge. I researched and vetted, and fortunately found Tim Grahl. Whether you’re a newbie or a published author, he has terrific marketing, book launch, and platform building information and programs, which he supplements with live monthly Q&A.  I also do some Amazon advertising and take advantage of their KDP promotional programs. I use Written Word Media for promotions, and have a newsletter and an author website.

6. What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?

Perseverance is as important as talent and skill. Study your craft. Read for pleasure. If you don’t read, chances are you won’t be a good writer.

7. What social media platforms are you on?

I’m not on any social media platforms. Advice from multiple sources suggests that if you’re not already active on social media . . . don’t start just to promote your book because it’s not the best way to get readers. Instead, I focus my platform building on an email newsletter list via my website. As an example, if someone goes to my website they’ll see a newsletter sign-up and get a free novella as a reward.

8. What is the one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started out?

Stop looking at what you haven’t accomplished, or mistakes made, as failures. Instead look at what you have accomplished, or mistakes avoided, as successes.

9. What do you feel is the biggest challenge authors are facing going into 2021 (and beyond)?

Change. Whether traditionally or self-published, authors have a growing role in marketing their work and I think that trend will continue. How books are produced, published, distributed, marketed, and consumed is ever-changing . . . so staying informed and identifying what will best support your goals, while nurturing your writer self, is important.

10. Have you won any awards or contests that you would like to mention?

I truly appreciate that over 225 fans have taken the time to leave reviews on Amazon giving me an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. As much as I love writing, nothing beats the thrill of learning someone liked my book.

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