I’m a writer and book artist currently living in North Carolina (US). I published a children’s book in 2002, but currently write novels and shorts stories. Under the imprint of Firebrand Press, I made limited edition handmade books that are letterpress printed. I’ve always loved books and illustration, and have combined my love of writing and image-making in artists books. My books are held in a variety of Special Collections libraries both nationally and internationally. I currently work for the National Park Service and travel to conduct printmaking and book arts workshops.
What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?
A children’s book called “Lost Dog” when I was in grade school. I wrote and illustrated it, and made book covers from cereal boxes.
What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?
My favorite thing about being a writer is pretending to be someone else, learning about new places, jobs, and people as a mode of research for my imaginings. My least favorite part is the submission process and the marketing side of things–I find self-promotion painfully difficult, but I know I need to do it.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?
I often feel stuck. It’s a bit like coming to a dead end in a labyrinth and having to problem-solve to make the next move. To beat it, sometimes I take a break and read, or draw, or work on another project for a while. If I find I’ve sat staring at the screen for a half and hour with no progress, I shift gears to something else. But sometimes I sit for a half an hour, thinking of how I can create another obstacle for my character. I think: “What would the Coen brothers do?” That sometimes helps. At the very least, it’s fun, and that loosens me up.
I’m rewriting a romance novel that I started years ago. The most challenging part of that is working out some plot points that have been irking me. I love my characters and think they have a great humor and chemistry, but I have to work hard to create an escalating plot. I sometimes get so wrapped up in my characters’ personalities that I lose sight of that escalation that I think is necessary.
What supports you in your writing?
Financially? My day jobs. Emotionally? My friends and family who encourage me–I’m very lucky to have them. I write because I love creating stories and creating alternate worlds for me to be a part of. It’s fun, and it’s magical when I’m doing it right, and I can’t imagine not doing it. So that fuels me to keep going when things are particularly hard.
What are you currently reading?
Lydia Millet’s “Mermaids in Paradise,” Neil Gaiman and Teri Pratchett’s “Good Omens,” and “Pride and Prejudice.” I like to spread my reading around, like watching different TV shows each day.
Where can our readers find you and your books online?
artist books can be viewed on my site: http://firebrandpress.org/