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My Writing Process

When you start a new book, do you outline? Do you know what the ending is before you write?

It depends on what I’m writing and the anticipated length. Since most of my personal short stories are under 1000 words, I don’t outline when I write them. The story just sort of falls out and then I go back and clean it up. Most often I can write them in one sitting.

When I started writing my middle-grade fiction book, The Sally Squad: Pals to the Rescue, I just started writing. Then I got stuck and that’s when I decided to outline. I used it as a “rough” outline, and it changed along the way—especially when new characters showed up.

The Sally Squad: Pals to the Rescue


Along their many adventures, The Sally Squad meets curious and exciting friends. But how can a crown-wearing toad king and directional dragonflies be of any help against real danger?

And what about the terrifying man with the gun?

In that book I had an idea of how it would end, however I left myself open to a possible different ending.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

In my Life With Sally series, the ideas came from Sally’s actions. When I first started writing about her, I kept creating situations. For example, I took her for a doggie massage; a meeting with a pet psychic; etc. When I started running out of ideas, I just started writing about her interaction with my family. Most of her readers seemed to really enjoy those stories, probably because they could relate to them.

The idea for Quit Whining Start Writing was from personal experience. I had so many books on writing that were sitting on my bookshelf that I bought but never read because they were so text heavy. I just wanted something simple and quick to read. So, I went with the old saying, if you can’t find the book you want to read – write it! 

Quit Whining, Start Writing: A Novelist's Guide to Writing


Quit Whining Start Writing has the solutions to help you overcome your writing excuses and start writing.

I always knew I wanted to write a fictionalized story about Sally, so the ideas in the The Sally Squad came from real-life situations with her.

Do you have a writing routine?

I have three dogs—two of them are toddlers—so I don’t have any type of routine. That’s my bad! I’m always trying to create a writing routine, but I still haven’t made it a priority.

How do you handle writer's block?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. If you make writing a priority (see above answer), then you write. Period. If you’re stuck with what you’re working on, write about something else. That’s just my opinion.

How do you deal with poor reviews?

When the first Life With Sally book was published, I received two awful reviews and I was crushed—at first. Then I was glad that I got them because I didn’t worry about “bad reviews” after that. Not everyone is going to like your book(s), your writing(s), and maybe even you. So don’t dwell on the negatives, focus on the positives. That’s what I try to remind myself when I get a bad review.

Describe your writing space.

I have a wonderful room in our house that is my office/writing studio. It is filled with reminders of Sally—photos and stuffed bull terriers, along with other things that make me happy. I try to keep it neat because when the room (or my desktop) is a mess—I have a hard time focusing.

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

Treating it as a priority. This has always been a struggle for me, and it shouldn’t be. My writing is important to me, but I always seem to put other (sometimes mundane) things in front of it.