Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
My latest book, How the Winds Laughed, is a memoir about sailing around the world in a 28-foot wooden boat. My husband, Pete Eastman, and I made the trip in 1971-73, before personal computers, the Internet, cell phones, and GPS. Once we were out of sight of land, we were on our own. How the Winds Laughed is a single-title book.
How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
It was about four months from the time I took a Willamette Writers workshop from Molly Tinsley to when she agreed, as a Fuze Publishing co-publisher, to take on my memoir. I also have three novels in process of completion.
What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
It was Molly’s interest in my work, and my 10-year association with her as a mentor and fellow writer, that convinced me to go with Fuze.
Did you hire a graphic artist for your book cover? Were you actively involved in the creation?
At Fuze’s behest I used graphic designer Ray Rhamey to do the front and back covers of my book, inside layout, and the ebook format. Ray was meticulous in coming up with the cover design—six ideas at the beginning—and he, Molly, and I honed these ideas for five months before coming up with the final cover design.
Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I have been a member of Talent Writers for six years. This critique group of about 10 has helped immensely with my writing.
What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I was a journalist for many years, so writing comes easily to me. I learned early on to tune out background noise (clacking typewriters, people talking), so I don’t listen to music while I write.
Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
In the beginning I take notes, jotting down where I want the plot to go and sketching my characters, but mostly I write the story in my head before it goes on paper. I don’t outline the way Hallie Ephron does.
Where your books are for sale?
Fuze Publishing, my publisher, sells paper and ebook versions of all its books.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I’m doing a lot of blogging to promote my book, thanks to Meg Tinsley, Fuze’s director of marketing. I did a book launch in September and two readings on the Oregon coast in October. Later this month I’ll speak to a local book group and be interviewed for a public television program, Back Page. In May I’ll be doing a reading at my college reunion.
It’s schizophrenic juggling three writing projects at once (the memoir and two novels), but I found I can compartmentalize them, devoting a block of time to one project, taking a break, and switching projects.