What inspired you to write?
I became embroiled in the life of a charismatic yoga master, who was also a shaman, and his entourage of beautiful, intelligent, successful women in Hollywood. Luckily, I wasn’t in a romantic relationship with him. Yet, he still had influence over me. Nico, the antagonist of my story, is a gifted healer but uses his power for the dark side of self-interest—to acquire wealth and fame. Luna, the main character, believes she can heal him because he has awakened something inside her she thought was lost. He has made her feel that anything is possible.
Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
I wrote the story that compelled me. The Sleeping Serpent had been brewing inside me for years. Everyone who knew me kept asking me if I would write a book about my experience with a sociopath. I wasn’t ready to allow it to emerge until January 2013 and then I wrote unwaveringly for three years until publishing in October of 2015.
How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
The Sleeping Serpent was written with an outline that I adhered to only loosely. My WIP is being written with a Hero’s Journey arc, but no outline.
Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
I had the emotional support of all my friends and family. I worked unwaveringly for three years, writing all day and then stopping around 4 or 5pm to go to the gym and then spend the evening with my husband. I had a most encouraging and wonderful working relationship with my editor with whom I shared the cover credit.
What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Once I had completely written the story,it was long enough to be a trilogy. The arc was not working as a trilogy so I took the entire document apart and reassembled it into one standalone novel. It was tedious, but it became better for the effort.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
It was the most creative project I have undertaken. I have been a costume designer, painter, and dancer in my life, and this was the best, most cathartic experience.
Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
Absolutely. I had an experience with a cult-like group something many people, thankfully, do not become embroiled in. It was life changing and a difficult time. It was also a journey of self-discovery. Many women can learn from this story.
What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
I need to wait until the ideas surface. I can't dredge them up. I sit and wait, often impatiently, for the inspiration gods to sit down next to me and guide my hand. The more impatient I become, the more I know they will not come. They test our spirit.
What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
There is no denying that criticism is a testing devil. I know spiritually and even intellectually that criticism is a necessary gift. Why do we write? For other people's approval or for our creative, spiritual and emotional development? I would like to aspire to create for my own satisfaction. I have learned a great deal by writing The Sleeping Serpent. That is what my purpose is on the planet. Self-discovery and the evolution of my soul.
Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
There is most certainly a circle of life. In high school I wrote tortured poetry. I never fit with the popular girls who tittered about boys, and hung out smoking cigarettes at the mall. I was an artist, listened to the edgy new music with potent lyrics, and I dressed eclectically bohemian wearing only silver and turquoise jewelry. I was never happy with the way I looked. I was darker skinned, with long thick black hair. I looked nothing like any of my classmates in Syracuse, New York. I had been adopted as an infant from the Mohawk tribe. I was a Native American. In college I made friends and fit in. I discovered I was actually an exotic beauty. I began to feel somewhat intellectual—which was trendy.
Do you have a favorite quote?
I have many. I put on on my web site by Haruki Murakami and since I am currently reading Kafka on the Shore I will post this one:
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” Haruki Murakami from Kafka on the Shore.
What is your favorite show on TV?
I have most recently been obsessed with "This is Us" But I love Game of Thrones!
I am going with Out of Africa because it is one of the few movies that is as good as the book, a memoir by Isak Dinesen.
My favorite authors and hence books are those whose lush prose is so beautiful as to make me weep as I read sentences repeatedly hoping to embody the spirit that inspired them. The characters are deep, detailed and complex, compelling us to them emotionally. We share their experience and travel with them on their journey, even into death. My favorites are not plot-driven fast-paced page-turners. On the contrary, they are languid almost dream like prose that causes me to think about life and its painful journey. I adore Ian McEwan and Jhumpa Lahiri for their exquisite prose. All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarty and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier are authors/books that are two favorites. For memoir, I adore Out of Africa and also Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. As for short story: Jim Harrison's Legends of the Fall and Hemingway's, The Old Man and the Sea are my favorites. When I read Hemingway, I am left in awe. I recently re-read The Old Man and the Sea on a train ride and sat in stunned silence when I finished. How can anyone write so beautifully, and concisely, and unpretentiously and tell such a marvelous story?!
Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
I will say Hemingway. But, I want to meet him back in time in Paris or possibly Spain.
Is there a talent you wish you had?
I was never the dancer I aspired to be, nor the painter I had hoped to be in my youth. I would love to have what I imagine to be the free flowing constant inspiration and style of prose of any one of the authors I named. But I venture that each of them have questioned themselves at times.
What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I love the idea of travel, but I am a bit of a homebody.
Describe yourself in 3 words!
Constantly moving forward
What inspired you to write?