1) Will there be a sequel to BEACH HOUSE MEMORIES?
Yes, there will be another in this popular series. I still work with sea turtles, after all, and there are more stories to tell. As there are as yet many questions to be answered for Cara and Brett. I'm eager to revisit my favorite characters. In my upcoming book (July, The Summer Girls), I bring Toy and Ethan back! It's the first time I've had fictional characters from other books reappear. The reader can see where this couple is in their life, their children... I did this because it makes sense that people involved with marine life in our community would know each other. Charleston is really a small town that way. It was fun to write and I'm sure my readers will enjoy seeing the characters again.
2) Do you have a favorite place to write? Where?
I've always needed to be in my own private space to write a novel. This is because i must lose myself and absorb the Point of View of the characters. I need to feel safe to do so. That said, all my story ideas are inspired by nature. I am outdoors a lot with a pad of paper and a pen, jotting down descriptions or thoughts. I believe a writer needs her/his own space. A small corner with a desk--it doesn't have to be fancy. But it must be sacred. No junk on the desk. No laundry or storage. Only things that support and inspire your work should be allowed in. I've gone from a small card table in a corner of my bedroom to a large office with a porch that enjoys a view of the Intracoastal Waterway. I spend most of my days in this room. On my walls are paintings of turtles, shrimp boats, dolphins, birds, the marshes--views that inspire. I have my collection of sweetgrass baskets, shells. While writing, I have photos of the particular setting I'm describing in the current book on my large bulletin board by my computer. And at my feet are my two cavaliers, Magnolia and Buster Brown. They are my constant companions in the office and snore in symphony.
3) Do you have a favorite season? What?
I love summer. Especially here on the island. It's the season the loggerhead sea turtles return to nest thus I'm constantly on the go with the turtle team monitoring nests. My flowerbeds attract butterflies and come August I begin raising and releasing monarch butterflies. Also, I love to swim, ride my bike, barbeque... From May till November we are blessed with balmy weather and the season is active and full.
4) Where does the inspiration come from for your characters?
My source of inspiration comes from the animal or landscape I'm writing about. Once I've selected the backdrop, for example in the book I'm writing now I've chosen our Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin, I first must research the species and talk to experts. Next I begin volunteering so I can become intimately involved with the story world I seek to enter--the animal, the people who work with the species, and all connected. Through this process I appreciate what the story questions are and create characters that can carry the story forward. I look for parallels between the themes of nature and human nature. For example, with dolphins I drew the theme of communication. Thus, I've created sisters who have not seen each other in years and no longer communicate. A grandmother who seeks to reestablish the connection between her granddaughters. I created a young boy with autism spectrum disorder. Also in this book a dolphin, Delphine, is a character. Once I have this starting point, I develop a deeper profile for each character as well as her story arc. The characters begin appearing in my dreams, I know them inside and out. It's a work in progress until the day I finally release the book to New York for publication.
5) Can you tell us about your upcoming presentation at "Book 'Em" on February 23 in Lumberton, NC?
I'm talking on writing the bestseller, which in my point of view, is writing the book of your heart. The author's passion for the subject, characters, themes, et al should be palpable throughout. It's what I refer to as "the soul of the story." It gives a writer the ephemeral quality called "voice."