I’m terrified of spiders, can’t fry eggs, and my inability to bake a chocolate chip cookie has become family legend. But blessings come from weaknesses. None of my children have a pet tarantula. My husband volunteers to fry the eggs for breakfast. And all of my sons and daughters are expert cookie bakers. Life if like that–it compensates for our weaknesses by sending others into our lives. Isn’t that wonderful? Writing books and reading them is another wonderful way we can strengthen ourselves and others. I believe it is a writer’s duty to craft words that lift people and help them feel better about their personal lives and those around them, to see the good in life. That is a responsibility I take very seriously.
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What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Actually, I am not a breakfast in the morning kind of person. If I’m going to have breakfast I prefer it for dinner.
People who spit in public.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Seeing how excited the fans are about the characters and the stories.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
As a child I loved the Walter Farley Black Stallion series and spent my own allowance to buy them in hardcover.
What is your favorite Quote?
I’m not sure I have a favorite—those change according to time and place—but I do have a quote I use often. Attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, there are many variations but the idea fits so many situations. “The right to swing my fist ends where the other person’s nose begins.”
What’s your favorite season/weather?
Rainy, wet drizzly days. They are perfect
Favorite quote from a movie?
My family are movie quote fanatics and we often play, “Guess the Movie” and then spew off some obscure quote. I’m always amazed how may quotes my kids can recall from movies they haven’t seen in years. One quote, that is often repeated in our house—with accent and all—is Vinny’s line from the animated movie, Atlantis: The Lost Empire. When something goes unexpectedly wrong at our house you will here someone look at the new mess, then say, “Hey look, I made a bridge. It only took me like, what? Ten seconds?”
Do you prefer a bunch of small gifts or one big expensive one?
My personal preference—give me something small and, preferably buy it used. I hate spending money and don’t like it when people spent money on me.
Favorite place you’ve been and/or would like to go.
Hawaii…but, then again, doesn’t everyone love Hawaii?
What drew you to writing this genre?
I hated having my teenagers come home with YA books that were filled with cursing, immorality, dysfunctional families, drugs, alcohol etc. So I decided to write the kind of books I would want my own teenagers bringing home. And, since I have mostly boys I started writing for teenage boys.
Which scene or characters were the most difficult for you to write and why?
In Lair of the Serpent the most difficult scene for me to write was when Jonathon got burned. But that scene was integral to the book and connecting Jonathon to Keo. In The Lost Curse, it was the scene where Severino comes through the tunnels, turns around in pain and Jonathon and Tallie learn he’s been bitten by a rattlesnake. There is so much interweaving between four different characters in that scene as reality hits them and Halden taunts them. In Tombs of Terror it was the basket full of spiders. I hate spiders.
Do you like the spotlight or lurking in the shadows?
I love the spotlight if I can turn it on someone else. Put me in front of 2,000 people and let me talk about someone else and I’m happy. I love it! Throw the spotlight on me in a group of 5 and I want to sink into the shadows.
How do you go about revising/editing?
After a spell and grammar check I search and destroy as many ‘was’ words as I can. Then I find all the sentences that begin with pronouns and try to rewrite them. I don’t like the “He said, she said” sentence structure. I also reduce the number of adverbs. Finally I read everything out loud at least once for flow and other editing problems.
What’s your favorite word?
Just to speak a fun word—that would be pantufla. It means slipper in Spanish but I always thought it sounded like a Dr. Suess word. However, my favorite word to use is ‘sorry’. It can be used (and should be used) in so many ways: I’m sorry, I was wrong. I’m sorry I hurt your feelings. I’m sorry you are struggling.
Lair of the Serpent
A humanitarian trip to Cambodia turns deadly when Delilah, a young medical volunteer, is kidnapped. When Jonathon arrives in the jungle and discovers that his friend is missing, he recruits the locals to search for her. Every clue points to the followers of the Naga Mani— a sacred stone with legendary powers that only work with a human sacrifice. With time running out, it’s up to Jonathon to rescue Delilah.