1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve always been passionate about storytelling. As a child, I used tell stories to friends and family, making them up as I went along. By the time I was eleven years-old, I started writing novels, typing them on my mom’s IBM Selectric. (Obviously, I’ve been doing this for quite a long time!)
Now, along with writing novels, I also write movie scripts and Hollywood movie taglines. But, I always consider myself a storyteller above all else. In the end, it comes down to how well you can spin a good tale.
With the work that I do, I spend time traveling back and forth between Boston and L.A., so, I’m pretty much bi-coastal at the moment. I have wide, eclectic interests in the arts. In addition to writing, I like playing piano, interior design, photography, painting and sketching. I’m a huge foodie and I love to cook. I also like to try new restaurants, especially in L.A., and when I’m on the east coast, Providence, R.I. One of my biggest guilty pleasures is watching movies. I’m a big movie buff, so I watch at least one movie a day!
2. What inspired you to write Otherwise?
I’ve had quite a few experiences in my life that can only be described as supernatural in nature. (Even as I write this, my family and I are convinced there’s a ghost haunting our house!)
Otherwise launches its main character, Delilah, into the middle of paranormal occurrences that, at first, she can’t understand. The book delves into supernatural themes like reincarnation, ghosts, and alternate realities. With my personal experiences as the seeds for this story, the characters and their situations rolled around in my head for a few years before I went to write about it.
The subject of hoarding that weaves throughout the book was interesting to write about. I have an M.Ed in psychology, so I wanted to make sure the disorder was handled realistically. I spent a lot of time researching how hoarding not only affects the person suffering from it, but their family and friends, as well.
People talk about writing what you know, and I believe that it’s a great place to start. But, the excitement about exploring the unknown, in this case what happens in between life and death, is fun to write about. I believe that if an author is passionate and enthusiastic about what they write, the reader will be equally fascinated!
3. What was the most challenging part about writing Otherwise?
The biggest challenge for me is the same with every project—starting, stopping, and starting again. Because of type of work I do, I often have to table what I’m working on in order to work on something more pressing. Then, I go back to whatever I’ve put on pause, pick it back up, and begin again. I’ve taught myself how to return to writing projects with the same enthusiasm and momentum as I left it.
4. Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
“Writer’s Block”—a condition in which an author loses the ability to produce new work—is one of the most common problems faced by writers. (And it typically happens at least once in their career.)
I’m a prolific writer, and have been working steadily for decades. Typically, I write at least 5 hours a day. Although it’s going to sound crazy, I’ve never experienced writer’s block. I think it’s because I spent years as a public relations professional and conditioned myself to write quickly and succinctly. (When you have a press release that HAS to get out, you can’t afford to have writer’s block!)
As a writer, I have more ideas than I have time for, but I can understand how this can happen to writers, or even bloggers who have to create interesting content frequently. There are many tricks to overcoming writer’s block, or to prevent it from happening. I was always told to write anything. If you see a blank screen taunting you, write about your day, a poem, an anecdote, something interesting your read on the Internet. Basically, anything that gets you writing will eventually lead to a subject or a theme that will spark your interest—ultimately getting you going in the right direction.
5. If writing wasn’t in the cards for you, what would be your ideal career?
I’d join the ranks of Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, and Clint Eastwood—among others—and become a great film director! Of course, there are so few females in this coveted men’s club that’d be an incredible endeavor—and a rewarding accomplishment for me.
For the record, a movie director works with the producer and screenwriter to establish the creative vision of the movie. They guide the actors and crew to help carry out that vision, ultimately making the movie come to life. The best directors have an extensive knowledge of the movie industry, and, ultimately can make all the difference in the quality of the film.
Who knows, perhaps directing already is in the cards for me. (I’ll have to consult my fortune teller and check the Tarots!)
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Reluctantly, Delilah Gray has returned to her childhood home—a ramshackle cottage where her compulsive, hoarding grandmother, Meema, raised her. Meema’s ghostly manifestations refuse to let Delilah clean the filthy house, or to stay there peacefully. And that’s just the beginning of Delilah’s problems.
Lonely, angry, and hiding a painful secret, she tries to find a place for herself in a town that she once discovered was “in-between”—a portal to the worlds of the supernatural. Upon her arrival, Delilah unwittingly gets caught in the middle of important business between The Keeper, whose job it is to keep souls on the physical plane, and The Sender who helps speed the dead on their afterlife journey.
When Delilah discovers that she is connected to Lily Defoe, a woman who leapt to her death many years ago, and to a man who refers to himself as The Gravedigger for Lost Souls, she realizes there is more to her homecoming than she anticipated. Who she is, and who she’s been, crosses the boundaries of life and death. Nothing—not the people she meets, not this very moment in time, not even the tragic death of her daughter—is what it appears to be. Not only does Delilah have her own “soul searching” to do, but she must work with some of Green Lake’s oddest characters to uncover the mysteries of several unsolved deaths that have never been forgotten.
While strange and supernatural occurrences threaten Delilah’s already fragile emotional state, she still has a crucial choice to make that will change everything. She comes to understand that there are some things that are worse than death. There is Otherwise—to be confined to a twilight state between the spiritual and the physical worlds.
OTHERWISE is a chilling tale about lonely spirits, protective forces,
and departed loved ones who are never really gone—and a woman who,
after wanting to die, finds a reason to live and to love again.
Only to discover what it is to be Otherwise.
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