- Can you tell us a little about your debut novel?
The Distant Shore was my debut novel. Released in January 2012 by Buddhapuss Ink, it’s the story of Jon Stone, a rock star who is getting on in life. On the brink of depression of alcoholism, he realizes that all his fame and money will never fill his lonely days. Enter the long lost love, Naomi, by way of a letter from a teenage son he never existed. Jon flies halfway round the world to find Naomi and the boy and finds much more than he expected.
It’s a very romantic story, but I wouldn’t call it a romance, really. It’s a novel about loss, regret, yearning, honesty, love, and trust. And it’s definitely about music, and creativity. Oh, and pretty dresses.
- Is it a standalone book or part of a series?
The Distant Shore is part of the Stone Series which consists of: a trilogy—The Distant Shore, Under the Same Sun, Song of the Storm, and two prequels—The Rosewood Guitar, Waiting for a Song.
- Who inspired your main character?
Oh dear… there’s a lot of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Diamond, a dash of Bon Jovi, some David Grohl… but really, Jon Stone is his own man. Talented, bright, full of passion, with a good business head, an amazing composer and songwriter; he’s also a romantic who believes in true love, and that everything can be all right if you only try hard enough.
His wife Naomi isn’t based on any person at all. I made her up, but let’s just say that she lives the life I’d have loved to live myself. Please take this with a grain of salt, of course I’d kill to own her handbag collection!
- Are you a plotter or do you just write whatever is in your head?
You know, this is such a difficult question. A couple of years ago I’d have said “pantster” and been proud of it. Now, five books later, I realize that you can never, ever write a book without a certain amount of plotting. But there are many ways of plotting: some authors use huge spreadsheets, some use Scrivener or other writing apps, and some use their head. I’m in that last group. The story spins out in my mind, in those hours when I lie awake at night and listen and watch the story unfold. Sometimes I have entire conversations going on in my head!
I don’t plot on paper. I tried, and it so didn’t work for me. Writing down what I possibly want to have in the story… that process alone leaches all the joy of writing out of me. Why even bother with writing the novel anymore? It’s all there in the plot outline, isn’t it? There’s nothing to discover, no surprises–it has all been said already.
So–I’m a mental plotter, yes. But that’s as far I will go, no further.
- Do you require silence when writing or do you need background noise?
Both ways work for me. I wrote my first two novels in our living room while the kids were playing on the Playstation, and it never bothered me. Now I have an office of my own, and sometimes I write while I listen to music on my headphones, and sometimes it’s silent.
- Are you writing your next book?
Yes, I am!
I’ve written five books—the entire Stone Series—during the past three years. Then I took a six month break so I could step away from those beloved characters. That was a hard thing to do!
Now I’ve started working on a romance/mystery series called Sunset Bay which is set on Vancouver Island. A young woman, Liese Winter, arrives in the small town of Sunset Bay. She’s gone there to claim a cabin in the woods that she inherited from an aunt she’d never met.
Step by step she discovers a secret… I’m stopping here!
I will say, it’s a huge change from the high society, celebrity lifestyle of Jon and Naomi Stone to banking fireplaces in a stormy winter night, on the wild shores of the northern Pacific.
Growing up with a German mother and Indian father was sometimes more interesting than I could stand, but the food was always great. We moved around a lot while I was a kid. We lived in Saudi Arabia, then Germany, Brazil, and then Germany again, where we finally settled down. Eventually I married a Bavarian: the food is still great, but life is a lot calmer.
I started writing when I was fifty-three, after years of being a soccer mom with a basket full of volunteer jobs. What started as an impulsive thing became a burning passion, and then a profession.
We have two sons, two cats, but only one TV, and live in beautiful Hamburg, Germany.