1. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to spend time with my kids and grandkids. The 4 four grandkids enjoy hiking Donkey Mountain (at the end of our street), catching bugs, riding bikes, and just playing. I also love to read. Working in our yard is also something I enjoy although I don’t have a green thumb.
2. What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?
The ending of the story was the hardest in Guinevere: The Legend. I didn’t know what my characters were going to do, and I was afraid of what would happen. That sounds crazy, I know, but when I’m writing, it’s the character(s) and my creative brain in charge. It took me about six weeks before I finally just sat down and let them finish the story.
3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Our next big trip will be to Greece and Italy. I’m somewhat obsessed with the ancient world and can’t wait to see the ancient architecture in those countries. Greece: the Acropolis, the Parthenon, Olympia, and Mycenae to name a few. Italy: Pompeii and Herculaneum which were buried in the Mt. Vesuvius eruption, the Colosseum, and the Circus Maximus to name just a few.
Made our trek to Egypt a few years ago.
4. Where do you get information and ideas for your books?
My ideas for the basis of my stories come from literature of the ancient and medieval worlds. From there I determine what stories I could write set in those worlds that would appeal to young readers (and mature readers). Since I taught a lot of the literature from those time periods, I have a good idea of what will attract readers (ages 9-17) to my books and characters.
5. Tell us a bit about a future project you are working. Do you have any little sneak peaks you can share?
Currently, I’m working hard on book 1 in my Feathers of the Phoenix series. It’s called the Atlantean Horse. The series follows Rosa (from Sons of the Sphinx) and maybe her cousin Jerome—still debating that one—as she/they search and track down the five feathers from the fabled Phoenix bird which Poseidon expelled from the island of Atlantis before he sank it.
Also on the back burner is book 2 in my Young Knights of the Round Table series. I’ve had numerous inquiries about it, but haven’t settled on a solid idea yet.
Here’s the current opening for The Atlantean Horse:
It’s late April here next to the foothills on the edge of the Denver suburbs, and yesterday’s storm dropped two feet of snow. Overnight it turned into a roaring blizzard plummeting temps below zero. The snow has moved on, but not the biting cold. The wind gusts not only create impassable drifts, it keeps the wind chill factor far below freezing. Even sheltered behind this window in my darkened living room I find myself rubbing my arms for warmth.
Outside, newly leafed trees fight against the ice coating their branches, a fight lost for some of them. The crackle of breaking limbs echoes through the glass. I shudder from sadness at the thought of the new life brought to an end so soon after emerging. But that’s Colorado for you. Here the weather changes from one day to the next, sometimes from one hour to the next.
For the second day, schools are closed. My friends are inside playing video games or chatting online hoping that the afternoon will be calm enough for sledding and snowball fights. I’m usually one of those. Nothing like a wet spring snow and a roaring ride down the hill below my house. I might even talk my dad into sledding, if it’s not too dark once he and mom get home from work. I’m not a fan of the snowball fights—though my cousin Jerome, who lives across the street, is—after having my nose broken by an errant snowball. On these days, I can still feel the impact, the pain and the blood running down my face and throat. A warm liquid that is nothing like a cup of hot chocolate soothing as it goes down. This almost gags me even now.
Usually I welcome Mother Nature’s little tantrums, but not this late. The wet cold hangs in the air and in my body refusing to let go. And today, in particular, I long for the stifling heat and that burning orb of the desert on my skin. Heat so thick I can see it rising in twisting streams from the blistering sand. And the sun literally baking my body, my hair, my skin. Never thought I’d wish for that again.
I don’t hear dead people anymore either. And that makes me sad. You heard right, sad. After all I went through with Tut and Hesena in ancient Egypt…1330 B.C. to be exact…I miss it. Well, let me rephrase that. I don’t miss the dead that talked—complained is more like it—before Tut came to me. I miss my Nana’s gift that let me help Tut find Hesena, his love, and helped him restore his family’s good name.
Those others, the ones who wanted a second chance at life, are gone now. I’ve even gotten through almost two years of school without the other kids wondering if I’m ever going to be sane. I’m sure they’re as relieved as me that those dead don’t interrupt my classes or my tests. A small part of me even misses the challenge of defeating General Horemheb, though not the almost dying part.
6. Tell us a story from your childhood.
Every August my family would spend 10 days at a small resort in Gunnison, Colorado. My dad was a fisherman. He would fish everyday. My mom would bring her sewing machine, patterns, and cloth to sew our school clothes. My grandparents used to come also. My brother and sister and I would hang out with the kids of the owners. We climbed the same mountains year after year, walked for miles, built forts in the willows by the river, and many times took the raft across the river to explore.
Over time (around 12 years), we became such good friends that the bond forged back then has carried into our adult lives. Some of the siblings, theirs and ours, have passed on, but we still stay in touch. When we do get to talk or get together, it’s like we just saw each other last summer.