I must be in love with the setting I select for a novel, as that place will have to inspire me for all the time it takes to complete the story.
When I was seventeen, I lived in London. I had already decided I would see the world, as if that would be my life’s calling. One day as I walked up Oxford Street toward Marble Arch, my glance fell on a photograph of New York City—a huge photo filling an entire shop window.
I had seen glittering images of New York in movies and magazines, but this photo, shot at night and in black and white, seemed to catch the city-that-never-sleeps, sleeping. I glimpsed my reflection on the windowpane and felt the skyscrapers towering above me. I perceived the rhythm of city—not the frenetic day-to-day beat so often associated with New York, but an amorphous and malleable energy, which I like to think of as the spirit of the city. I felt it calling me. Two years later, I landed a job in an ad agency in New York, which began my long love affair with the city.
Like all love affairs, mine with New York constantly challenged me. I had arrived alone without knowing a soul, but I never felt alone. The black and white photo that had drawn me across the Atlantic drifted over my mind’s eye like visual narrative in a movie.
Many years and many travels later, I wrote my first novel Dream Chaser: Awakening, and I chose New York as the setting. The story feels like an echo of the city: the fierce daylight run for success, the dazzle of the glittering events of evening, slow dancing into the late night hours. Sleeping in the soft whoosh of its amorphous and malleable spirit. Awakening to the call of your own.
I wrote stories as a young child and dreamed of being a writer one day. For many years I traveled the world and worked in different careers. I settled into writing full time fifteen years ago.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
My habit is to write for about three hours in the early morning. I like to edit in the afternoon. When traveling, I write anywhere I can.
What is this book about?
A woman who feels hard-wired to be with the man she loves but who cannot realize that love because of a debt she bears from a previous life in ancient Ruberah.
What inspired you to write it?
I wanted to set a novel in Cornwall, UK, where I grew up. I felt the lush countryside, the moors, and the rugged coast would feed my imagination. They did. Lovers came to mind—lovers who must time travel to the ancient past to heal a rift that prevents them from being together. I needed an immortal—a guide who would help them. I turned to an old Cornish legend that fascinated me as a child: the legend of the beautiful nymph Tamara and the giant brothers Tavy and Tawridge. Tamara lives in a cave beneath the moors with her parents. Her father forbids her to meet the giants. Tamara disobeys him. Her father catches her with the giants and punishes her by turning her into a river of tears. Tamara forms the River Tamar. As a child, I traveled back and forth to boarding school by train crossing the River Tamar. I imagined Tamara as a water spirit who helped people.
“Written in Ruberah,” is the first book in my Age of Jeweled Intelligence series about people who lived in ancient Ruberah who made sacred promises to one day make amends for the disaster that brought about the end of that land. They tossed those promises into the River of Life. Many of those old souls live on the planet today. As their promises come due they float into the River Tamar. Tamara guides those ready to fulfill them.
Who is your favorite character from the book?
Miriam, who longs to be in a loving relationship with Mitch. Miriam fears aging and the possibility of growing old alone. A little overweight, she struggles to take the pounds off only to binge eat to feed her emotions and pack them back on. Miriam is strong, humorous, and painfully vulnerable.
Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
Long and arduous. It took many drafts to weave the history of the ancient Kingdom of Ruberah into the story of Tamara and the present day lives of Miriam and Mitch.
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
I wrote the first two drafts of Written in Ruberah in first person from Tamara’s POV. My editor told me the story was too big for first person. If I had to do it over, I would take her advice earlier than I did.
What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?
I’m at the beginning of that journey. Right now, I’d say having my website redesigned and going on this blog tour. I rather dreaded promoting my book but I find myself enjoying it—enjoying the connection I’m making with other writers and book lovers.
Is there one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
If you dream of being a writer, you can be a writer. The dream is telling you this. Let nothing stop you. Build the habit of writing every day. This tells your body, mind, and spirit you’re serious about this. After a while that something magical happens and you’ll find your imagination racing off, exploring possibilities you might otherwise never have considered. You’ll laugh, cry, fall in love, and kill whoever needs to be killed. Since you create all the characters you realize your protagonist could not complete his journey without having met and defeated a number of enemies along the way. This opens your compassionate nature and guides you to deal fate with an even hand. In Written in Ruberah I learned why Tamara’s father turned her into a river and how he did it. Yes, it’s just an old Cornish legend, but truth abounds in myths and legends.
I write by Rumi’s advice: “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
What is up next for you?
I’m writing the next book in my Age of Jeweled Intelligence series. This story features a new main character, a seventeen-year-old boy, Ib, short for Ibiza, (Ib’s mother names all her children after the place where they were conceived), a soul-searing love story, and another adventure in ancient Ruberah.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you for your kind interest in my novel. I bid you goodbye with the phrase used by those who lived ancient Ruberah. Foretune to travel well.