If You could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why? I would pick Medieval Wales around 600/700 AD. I‘m an Arthur groupie. I’m also a romantic. The times of knights riding in on white horses to rescue maidens in trouble appeals to me. The code of chivalry encompassing honor, loyal, and friendship, even though it didn’t work, is for me a blueprint of how people should live their lives.
Another reason I would pick this time is that I would love to be a knight. I’m still a tomboy at heart. A Dame is what I would be called. I’d like to think that I could be as brave and honorable as those knights in shining armor.
What is your favorite Quote? Sic volvere Parcas – So spin the Fates. Another of my favorite historical eras is Ancient Greece.
Who are your favorite authors of all time? I devour everything written by the duo Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and have since I first discovered The Relic way back when. I love JRR Tolkien and have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings several times.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters? I think any author can. Mixed in with each characters’ individual traits are pieces of their author. My own sense of loyalty, friendship, and honor are imbedded in all my Arthurian characters. I also carry my own love of adventure, mystery, and magic into my stories for my characters to enjoy as well as my readers.
What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? I actually have two movies I can’t wait to see. The first is the new James Bond film Skyfall. It opened in November and is on my short list for December. I’ve been a James Bond since high school. The second film is The Hobbit which will be released in December. I’m excited to see it.
You have won one million dollars. What is the first thing that you would but? Before I ever bought anything for myself, I would give my kids and their families some mad money. Then I would buy children’s books to donate to the schools in our area who are unable to buy them. I do this now each year, and it gives me such pleasure. I would be able to give to so many more. Then I would put myself and my husband on a tour around the world. There is so much out there to see, and I want to see it all.
Which authors have influenced you the most and how? I would have to say Joseph Campbell. I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien in 1973. I was newly married and looking for my place in the world. Looking back, I see it was the journey of Bilbo and Frodo that drew me in. Like them, I was also on a journey and had no idea of the ending. A few years later, I discovered Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey. I realized that this was the attraction for me and a whole world of readers in the works of Tolkien, T. H. White, George Lucas, and J. K. Rowling.What I have tried to do in The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table) is write a story that would couple the Hero’s Journey with the King Arthur Legend.
What are your favorite places to travel? Of places I’ve already been, it would be Mexico and Egypt. Mexico time runs much slower than my time. I feels as if I could catch up with all my work if I stayed there long enough! I would love to go back to Egypt and spend more time there. It felt unreal to be touching the pyramids, viewing the temples of Karnak, Luxor, and Abu Simbel, and walking through the Valley of the Kings. We explored only the surface when we were there. I know so much more now that I’m eager to go back and learn more.
Of places I have yet to visit, there are several. On the top of my list is Wales and the country of King Arthur. I’m a lover of history, so I also want to see Greece and Mount Olympus, Italy and the Roman Coliseum, France and where the Bastille once stood, and Transylvania and the heart of the legend of Dracula.
If you could travel in a Time Machine, would you go back to the past or into the future? I would go back to Ancient times. The past has so many lessons to teach us, and it actually lives in the world today right along side of us. The cliche of learning from the past is not really a cliche, but a truism. I’ve taught the literature of Ancient Greek and Rome for many years, and would love to be there to experience what is thought to be the beginning of the modern world.
What is the one book everyone should read? The Once and Future King by T.H. White. He brings the Arthurian Legend right into everyone’s home with his story. Through Wart’s (young Arthur) experiential lessons, readers understand the idea of might not being right, the fragile nature of this world we live in, and that none of us are perfect. The amazing thing about this is that White does all this with stories of knights, jousts, and quests.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Coconut ice cream. I first had this in Mexico. It tastes delicious!
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? I love breakfast burritos complete with chorizo, potatoes, green onions, red and green peppers, cheddar and Pepper Jack cheeses, salsa, and sour cream all smothered with green chili!
Night owl, or early bird? Definitely a night owl. I never go to bed before 11:30/12 pm, and I detest getting up before 8:30 or 9 am. When I was teaching full time, I had to be up at 5:30. On the weekends, I never got up before 9:30.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Experience the true meaning of friendship and loyalty as three friends, motivated by their belief in the Wild Man’s innocence, embark upon life-changing quests testing their limits and forcing each to confront and conquer their fears or face humiliation and/or even death.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? My current work-in-progress takes my readers out of Medieval England and back to Ancient Egypt. Sons of the Sphinx is a mystery/adventure for tweens/YA and introduces readers to a different type of quest.
Future projects include a sequel to Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend. I’ve had several readers ask me what becomes of Guinevere’s friend Cedwyn, so I’m working on a storyline there. And, somewhere soon, I’m going to do another Young Knights of the Round Table. I haven’t decided yet whether to continue with the same characters, or to give a new group of young people a chance at joining the Round Table.
What inspired you to want to become a writer? Teaching students in high school who didn’t like to read or who found a million other activities to do rather than read motivated me to dig deeper into my curriculum. It is always challenging to find reading material that excites every student. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. Then one spring I decided to do The Once and Future King by T. H. White. My freshmen were ecstatic. We read; we discussed; we drew murals of chapters; we wrote poetry and songs; and we attempted to earn Knighthood in seven days! Boy, what a discovery I’d made.
I continued to teach the King Arthur Legend, and the enthusiasm never waned. I had students who would give 100% on this unit when I struggled to get them to read other literature. These kids were my inspiration for choosing the legend of King Arthur for my writing. I use the appeal of King Arthur to encourage young kids to read more and to believe that they can write. I always come away from a school visit believing that I have helped the students relate better to their writing, and hopefully, ignited a little spark in the reluctant readers to pick up a book.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. This would have to be my Medieval Writing Workshops for elementary and middle school students and the Colorado Girl Scouts. We explore writing and reading, and it is fulfilling to see young students excited about writing and reading. The kids enjoy writing their own medieval stories complete with dragons, wizards, unicorns, and knights!
What was your favorite book(s) when you were young? Like many young girls, I was and still am crazy about horses. For years (and I mean years) all I read were horses stories. My two fiction favorites are the Golden Stallion series by Rutherford Montgomery and theBlack Stallion series by Walter Farley. I also read non-fiction dealing with horses.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? I know it’s been said many times, but writers need to write what they love. Also, don’t be afraid to explore and expand on that. It was my love of the works of Tolkien along with the connection to Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey that inspired me in my writings. It has taken me beyond Arthurian Legend to ancient Egypt where a young pharaoh embarks upon his own journey to write a wrong and be united with his one true love.
Sometimes a person’s writing can take them places they never imagined. Rejoice in that and embrace it!
If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why? Athena. She is the goddess of wisdom, judgment, peace, and courage. She is also a teacher as exhibited inThe Odyssey when she guides Telemachus, Odysseus’ son, in his journey to become his father’s son.